Seniors, do you want to have fun, learn new things and keep your brain active? Then keep on reading – and I don’t just mean this article. Reading books, magazines and other materials is a great way to stay mentally sharp.
Reducing the Risk of Dementia
Dementia is a serious concern for many seniors. According to the CDC, more than 5 million Americans suffered from Alzheimer’s, the most common type of dementia, in 2013. By 2050, this figure is expected to reach 14 million. The risk of developing Alzheimer’s increases after one’s 60th birthday, but evidence suggests that mental, social and physical activities may help reduce this risk.
There are many ways to exercise the brain, including reading. A study published in Neurology, and described here by the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, found that mentally challenging activities, including reading and doing crossword puzzles, could reduce the symptoms of dementia.
Devices to Make Reading Easier
Reading is a simple way to keep one’s mind active, but for seniors with deteriorating eyesight, it might not be as easy as it used to be.
If vision problems make reading hard for you, it’s time to visit your eye doctor. You may need a new pair of reading glasses.
You can also try using a magnifying lens. Some are designed specifically for reading. They are large enough to magnify an entire page at a time and may include lights. Some models are basic and inexpensive, like this one from Bed Bath & Beyond. Others, like the one featured on firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond, cost more but also include more features.
E-readers that let users adjust the font size are another great option for people vision problems. This is also ideal for seniors who are downsizing and don’t have room for lots of bookshelves.
If staring at the page is still too hard on your eyes, you might want to give audiobooks a try. Many books are now available in audio form.
Consider Joining a Book Club
Reading is a great activity, but the benefits can continue after you finish the last page. The conversations you’ll have are another way to stimulate your brain, and the upcoming meetings can motivate you to finish your book.
Joining a book club is also a great way to stay social – and keep in mind that social activity may be helpful in reducing dementia risk, too.
You can look for book clubs at your local library or senior groups. If you can’t find one that meets your needs, consider starting your own. If you need help thinking of questions to discuss, these generic questions from LitLovers work well for any book.