Benefits of Reading Aloud to the Elderly


By Nancy Lavender

Geriatric Care Manager, carrie Hill, PhD

While chatting to members at our Day Centre, I realized that many of the elderly folk could no longer read books. They could still pick up a newspaper or magazine and read bits and pieces, but because of failing eyesight, reading for any length of time was too tiring for their eyes. Even large print books eventually became too stressful to read.

Many of us have read stories to our children and grandchildren, as great comfort is derived from being read to, at any age. The pleasure is not only felt by the children, but also by you, the reader. Especially as we often choose our own childhood favourites to read and enjoy once again!

So let us swing the other way and start reading aloud to the elderly people in our lives - a member of the family or someone you visit regularly or even someone in the care home where you work. You might want to read to one person or to a small group.

Suggest the idea to them and find out what book they would like to start with - it might be an old favourite or maybe a newly published novel. Most towns have libraries and you will be able to find the book there, if you don't already have a copy.

Besides novels, there is a huge range of books covering specific topics or hobbies. Many of these have wonderful illustrations and photographs. Look also at the books in your chosen subject, that are aimed at children. There too you will find interesting text and even more pictures to share.

Apart from the obvious enjoyment of reading aloud, there are many benefits to be gained. Whatever book you choose to read, this activity will stimulate discussion and reminiscence, both of these being pleasing and essential to the wellbeing in the elderly. It too, alleviates boredom. This is a common problem with older people, as physical impairment limits activity and can spiral into depression.

So get your books out and start reading!

For more ideas on craft and activities for elderly folk have a look at My Blog

Nancy Lavender is a contributing writer to where you can find activities relating to seniors, including crafts, games and so much more.

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2 Responses

  1. I just read this great book, Paper Children: An Immigrant's Legacy by Marcia Fine. It follows the stories of three generations of women. First, the grandmother who moved to the United States from Poland in the 1930s to follow her husband. Then it follows her daughter Paulina in the 1940s and 1950s and her story of being divorced and a single mother which was pretty unheard of at the time. The book ends with the granddaughter Mimi who is curious about her family's history in which her grandmother will finally reveal.
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