5 Benefits Reading Provides for Seniors

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Reading can provide seniors with hours of entertainment, but that’s not the only perk of being a bookworm. Frequent reading can increase intelligence, lower stress levels, enhance sleep, and much more. Ahead, learn about the benefits of reading regularly in the golden years.

1. Wards Off Alzheimer’s

Reading is a stimulating activity. The mental act of parsing a text—be it a nonfiction book about quantum mechanics or the latest James Patterson thriller—is like exercise for the brain. It strengthens neural pathways, keeps the brain in good working order, and creates a healthy cognitive environment, which may be less susceptible to the deterioration that leads to Alzheimer’s. To enhance cognitive health, seniors should spend their time engaging in stimulating hobbies like reading. 

A professional caregiver with training and expertise in methods of cognitive stimulation can also help your loved one boost his or her cognitive health. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elder care. West Hartford families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

2. Relieves Stress

Many seniors live with chronic anxiety. When confronted with illness, financial woes, or unexpected lifestyle changes, their stress levels rise, which can take a toll on their physical and mental health. To prevent the health concerns associated with high stress levels, seniors need outlets for their anxiety. Studies suggest reading is one of the most effective and entertaining options. When seniors pick up engrossing novels and lose themselves in the twists and turns, they step into the realm of the authors’ imaginations and leave behind their worries. This momentary reprieve from stress can result in long-term benefits, and it may help seniors stay calm when faced with stressful situations.

3. Increases Empathy

Isolation is a common issue among the senior population. While reading isn’t a perfect substitute for human companionship, it can offer lonely seniors some of the same benefits. Fiction can help readers develop the ability to understand and empathize with other people’s thoughts, beliefs, and emotions, which can act as solace and stimulation for seniors with limited social circles.

4. Enhances Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for maintaining health in the golden years. While the body sleeps, the mind consolidates memories, forges new connections, and clears out unwanted detritus. However, many seniors have difficulty getting the prescribed seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Bedtime rituals can help aging adults sleep easier at night. These rituals act as signals to the brain and the body, alerting them that it’s time for sleep. Physical books are the best choice for seniors who want to establish a sleep-inducing bedtime ritual. The glow of e-reader screens can inhibit sleep, while the act of turning the pages of a physical book can be soothing. 

For seniors with health limitations such as severe arthritis or diminished eyesight that make it difficult to read printed books, listening to audiobooks can be an ideal solution. Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. West Hartford, CT, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

5. Boosts Decision-Making Skills

Decision-making skills fall under the category of fluid intelligence. This psychological intelligence category refers to the ability to identify patterns and think logically in unusual situations. Many adults experience a decrease in fluid intelligence as they age, which makes it difficult to make important decisions. Because the act of reading involves pattern identification and logical thinking, it hones decision-making abilities, leaving seniors better prepared to make difficult choices.

Mentally engaging activities such as reading help seniors boost their mental and emotional wellbeing. Living alone at home in the golden years can present a few unique challenges. Trust West Hartford senior care professionals to help your senior loved one maintain a higher quality of life while he or she manages an illness and performs the daily tasks of living. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate, professional care for your loved one. To hire a dedicated caregiver, call us at (860) 372.4500 today.