One of the less discussed challenges faced by caregivers is keeping loved ones entertained and engaged throughout the day. It’s understandable that screens—particularly television—are a common source of entertainment for seniors. TV is a convenient and accessible way to pass the time, and there’s nothing wrong with a senior watching a few hours of television each day.
However, many studies over the years have supported the fact that mentally stimulating activities can help prevent the onset of memory loss diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, and can even slow the progression of the disease.
Reading is one of the best activities for exercising the mind and preventing Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, because older eyes tend to have a harder time reading the small text in many books, seniors can find reading to themselves challenging.
If your loved one struggles with reading on their own, you can still help them gain the benefits of reading on a regular basis, either by helping them to download audiobooks from their local library or by reading out loud to them.
Reading aloud is an opportunity to spend quality time with your loved one and can be a meaningful bonding experience. If you plan to start reading aloud to your loved one, the first task is to put together a reading list. Because you’ll be reading together, it’s important to find books that you will both enjoy.
Here are a few suggestions for finding books to share with your loved one:
- Laughter really is the best medicine. Like reading, laughter has been proven to have many positive effects on the brain. Get double-duty out of your reading time by choosing humorous books.
- A great escape. It’s no secret that one of the best things about reading is its ability to transport you to other places. Due to health or mobility concerns, your loved one may not have been able to travel in a while. Take a trip together by choosing a book set in a far-away locale.
- Special interests or hobbies. If you and your loved one share a particular interest or hobby—such as outer space, history, or even a cultural figure—that’s a perfect place to start when looking for a book to read. Ask your local librarian to recommend a new title in one of those genres.
- Complete works. Finding an author that you and your loved one both enjoy and then working your way through their complete works is a quick and easy way to fill your reading list! Along the same lines, you could also tackle a multi-book series.
- Hall of Favorites. Rereading favorite books from certain periods is like taking a walk down memory lane. It brings up long-forgotten memories, feelings, and nostalgia. Make a list of your loved one’s favorite novels from childhood and adulthood. They’ll enjoy revisiting their beloved personal classics, and you’ll learn a lot about them through the lenses of their favorite books.
Reading aloud to the senior in your life will benefit both of you, providing an opportunity to spend quality time together while serving as a good dose of cognitive exercise for them. We hope this article gave you some ideas of books to add to your shared reading list. Pay a visit to your community library and get started today!