Many seniors enjoy their retirement years pursuing the hobbies and interests they have loved throughout their lives. For some people, retirement finally provides time to finish that long list of books they have been meaning to get to.
Beyond the simple act of enjoying a wonderful story or gaining insight through non-fiction, reading has many upsides for older adults. These include:
- Enhanced memory retention
- Stress reduction
- Sharper decision-making skills
- Better sleep
- Delayed onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia
At The Saybrook at Haddam, we have bookshelves throughout the community and in our library filled with books anyone can borrow at any time. Residents and visitors are often found reading a book, magazine or newspaper in one of our many cozy nooks, in our front lobby or second-floor great room, outside in the courtyard, or on their own balconies. Almost anywhere is a good reading place – and our home is filled with options!
To encourage reading, we host several weekly and monthly book events. Volunteers from the local Brainerd Library lead discussions on some popular choices (and bring us extra books to borrow if needed). Recently, we have read “The Prodigal Son” by Colleen McCullough and “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion. Residents love sharing opinions and insight during these discussions (and afterwards). For book suggestions, the library keeps a list of its own book club choices and, of course, the New York Times bestseller list is always a great resource.
Many residents also love to be read to. Oftentimes, younger friends and relatives stop by and spend time reading books or magazine articles to them. Joan in our Activities Department reads book passages out loud to residents at her weekly “Books with Joan” events. Residents follow along and talk about their impressions, what they liked or didn’t like. Joan has read mysteries, historical fiction, and even ghost stories (to help everyone get ready for Halloween).
If traditional book print is too small for the aging eye, residents turn to large-print books, e-readers with adjustable font sizes, or even books on tape. Several of our residents rely on audiobooks loaned through the mail from the National Library for the Blind or from the local library. Larger books, book holders, or e-readers are also helpful for those suffering from arthritis and other challenges to dexterity.
Reading is an important part of the “life-long learning” attitude we love to foster – with so many benefits to seniors. If you have a great book to suggest, please let Amy or Joan in our Activities Dept. know. And if you would love to come share reading with one of our residents, let us know and we will help pair you up!