Most people have fond memories of reading to their children and grandchildren. Reading aloud promotes bonding and is an enjoyable activity for the reader as well as the audience, and will provide a topic of conversation, stimulate imagination and creativity, and improve mood.
The next time you visit your loved one in the senior living community, spend some time with them reading a book or magazine. You will find that this activity is entertaining to both parties.
You may even want to turn the tables and have grandchildren read to their grandparents for a change.
You are probably already familiar with the genre that your loved one prefers. If you are not sure, ask what kind of book they enjoy. A few ideas are:
- Cozy mysteries.
- The Bible, or a devotional.
- Shakespearian plays.
- Historical romances.
- “Chick lit”.
- Books on travel.
- Books about a specific era, such as the 1950’s.
- Classics by Jane Austen or Charles Dickens.
- Books on food from different cultures, or even cookbooks.
- Fairy tales.
- Magazines about hobbies such as knitting, fishing, or gardening.
- Celebrity gossip magazines.
Whatever the favorite genre is, stop by the library or the bookstore before your next visit, and pick up one or two books or magazines. There may even be a library at the senior living community with a good selection of books to choose from, or you can bring some from home to read and then donate to the community library.
Depending on the interest level of the senior loved one, you may choose a novel that you can read a few chapters at a time during each visit, or if their attention span is shorter, as can happen to all of us, a short story or magazine article may be preferred.
Put some thought into not only selecting the reading material but into your reading performance also, especially when reading fiction. Have fun! Act out the different characters’ voices, create suspense by pausing before a big revelation, laugh out loud when the character laughs, and so on.
Although reading privately to your loved one is a wonderful experience, it is also very rewarding to read to a group. Talk to the senior living community coordinator about setting up a book-reading session, and spread the joy.