Life is like a Book

Elderly man reading book

Life is like a book...

Some chapters are sad, some are happy and some are exciting, but if you never turn the page, you will never know what the next chapter has in store for you…

Life is like a book...

Don't jump to the end to see if it's worth it, just enjoy life and fill the pages with beautiful and amazing memories...

In this day and age of the Internet, kindles and eBooks, nothing can ever replace the sensation of holding a 'real' book or the latest novel  in my hands, the feel and texture its paper, the pleasure of turning its pages as the plot unfolds and immersing oneself into its world.  However, if dementia sets in, books can continue to play an important part in a person's wellbeing, for example with the use of Reminiscence Books. People living with dementia tend to struggle with long paragraphs and may have trouble following a story. They may be overwhelmed by ‘normal' books but spry and alert enough to feel offended with books labelled as dementia books or by being a children's book.

The author Emma Rose Sparrow has written a series of books aimed at those living with dementia. Emma’s books have short paragraphs, short chapters, larger text, visual clues using colours, extra spacing for pauses,  covers which look like a ‘normal’ adult book, wording for adults (not childlike) and all with a happy ending.  These books help those with dementia to continue and enjoy reading.

Read on and enjoy the blog below by May Mak on the benefits of reading.

Few would undoubtedly contest the merits of reading, a widely enjoyed pastime and a great tool for learning.  For me, the beauty of reading is that it can be enjoyed and shared by both the young and more senior.  Nothing warms my heart more than seeing my two-year old niece stretch out her arms to be picked up and be sat on my (70+ year old) mother’s lap to read her current favourite book, ‘Room on a Broom’ by Julia Donaldson.

The benefits of reading are well documented and can be applied to ALL ages:

Knowledge building

Learning happens on a daily basis and under many different circumstances, whether it’s learning something completely new or simply finding a different take on a matter.  What better way to learn than to read?  Not only does it help to expand knowledge on various topics, but can help to expand vocabulary, which in turn can raise confidence and self-esteem.

Enhancing memory

Do you remember school comprehension questions?  Many of those questions required a degree of memory retention in recalling information about characters, plots and themes – and as you read, that’s exactly what you’re doing to make connections and predictions about where the writer is leading you.  Reading exercises your memory.  By reading regularly, an individual is strengthening the brain’s neural network, which in turn enhances cognition and reduces the risk of memory loss.

Sharpens decision-making skills

Routinely challenging your brain with activities such as reading can improve skills of reasoning and analysis, abilities known as ‘fluid intelligence’ – unfortunately known to decline with age.

Mental stimulation – Delaying onset of Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Regular reading enables mental stimulation and acts to exercise the brain to operate at its optimal capacity.  Such exercise helps to build reserves of neuronal connections, thus delaying Alzheimer’s and helping to preserve brain structures in later life (Dr. Zaven Khachaturian, senior science advisor to the Alzheimer’s Association).

Stress reduction

Reading is a great way to escape into another world and be distracted from the present.  According to research undertaken at the University of Sussex, reading can reduce stress levels by 68 percent.  It was found that silent reading for six minutes caused a slowing down of heart rates and eased tension in the muscles.

Aids sleeping

Forming a bedtime routine of reading, as opposed to screen-time (TV/electronic device), signals the body that it’s time for rest and sleep.  It is thought that reading induces shut-eye more efficiently than falling asleep from viewing a screen, which conversely has been proven to disrupt sleep patterns and keep individuals awake!

So, enjoy reading, being read to or reading to someone and reap the benefits!

Books are the windows through which the soul looks out.  A home without books is like a room without windows.

~ Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1888)