If you are looking to help your loved ones spend their time in a productive way, reading might just be the answer. Reading books can improve seniors’ decision-making skills, as well as strengthen their memory and cognitive functions. From better sleeping cycles to delaying the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, there are many benefits of reading that seniors can enjoy.
Improves Sleep Quality
It is not uncommon for aging adults to suffer from sleep deficits or to have poor sleep quality. One reason could be that many of our elderly relatives spend long hours watching television at night. Being in front of the television and being exposed to the blue light that’s emitted actually stimulates the brain and this may be why so many seniors find it hard to fall asleep at night. Research has shown that reading a book for at least 30 minutes before bedtime relaxes the mind and triggers the production of serotonin and dopamine – these are natural hormones that help us sleep better. Hence, instead of watching television, you can encourage your loved ones to read a book before bedtime.
Opens Up Opportunities for Socialization
Some of our loved ones who are retired often worry about having a diminished social circle. You should let them know that reading can open up opportunities for socialization! After reading a very interesting book, one is likely to want to recommend it to others. Some of the memorable plot developments or characters can easily become the best conversation starters. Do you know that your loved ones can also volunteer to read for children in hospitals and orphanages? Volunteering can provide them with happiness and a sense of purpose in their lives again.
Develops Critical Thinking and Reasoning Skills
A study done by the University of Michigan shows that three and a half hours of reading per week can boost our cognitive health. Just like how exercising is beneficial for us, it is equally important for us to have great cognitive health. This study also suggests that reading could be the key to delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia because different parts of the brain are stimulated when we read. At the same time, reading has been known to improve both short-term and long-term memory.
Some older adults may suffer from anxiety and depression due to the effects of aging. They can also become easily stressed and agitated. Research has shown that reading can profoundly decrease our stress levels. Reading a lifestyle or travel magazine, or a funny publication is an inexpensive activity that can transport us to other parts of the world and enable us to see different perspectives in life.
Although there are many wonderful benefits of reading, statistics show that 25% of Americans who are aged 50 and above have difficulty cultivating good reading habits. This might be due to their diminishing eyesight and hearing problems. In such instances, technology can be of great help to them in the form of audiobooks, magnifiers, reading lights, and large print books. If your loved ones have mobility issues, you can always bring books and magazines over for them. Encourage your loved ones to develop a reading habit today!