How to Help People with Dementia Enjoy Reading: A Step-by-Step Guide – Pitoies
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How to Help People with Dementia Enjoy Reading: A Step-by-Step Guide

19 Mar 2023 0 Comments
How to Help People with Dementia Enjoy Reading: A Step-by-Step Guide
Reading aloud to someone with dementia can be a wonderful way to bring back the joy of reading, even in the later stages of their journey. Book worms devour all kinds of fiction, from short stories like Aesop’s Fables to novels like The Count of Monte Cristo. However, it can be much harder to enjoy reading alone. Here's how you can help book lovers to access the wonderful tales within the pages by reading aloud to them – chapter by chapter.

First, it’s important to find out what stories they’ll enjoy. The best way to do this is to speak to their nearest and dearest to discover which novelists or genres they like. Once you have a book or story in mind, follow these steps:

1. Choose a book or story the person will love.
2. Visit the person in their room or where they are seated – somewhere quiet without any distractions.
3. Greet them by holding their hand or laying your hand gently on their hand or forearm.
4. Sit at their eye level and ask them how they are. If they can’t respond verbally, look for visual clues, like a change in breathing, movement of head, hands or eyes and respond by letting them know who you are, or talk about something that’s going on that day.
5. Hold eye contact and say that you’re going to spend some time reading a book to them.
6. Read the first chapter and look for visual cues as to whether they’re having a good time – if they are, carry on!
7. Pause at the end of each chapter.
8. Even if they’re not fully following the story, they will hopefully feel a connection with you.
9. Keep going for as long as you have time, or they seem happy.
10. Finally, bring the session to a close by telling them you’ll read the next chapter soon and talking about what’s coming up next in the day, for instance, coffee or lunchtime.

If you’re reading a longer book, spend the beginning of each session recapping the events of the chapters you’ve already read before starting a new one. With this simple and effective activity, you can help bring the joy of reading back into the lives of those living with dementia.

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