The Benefits of Reading for Seniors- Affinity Health OttawaReading can be an enriching and pleasant activity for people of all ages, and many seniors get a great deal of satisfaction from sitting down for a while with a book.

With so many options of things to read in the forms of books, magazines, newspapers, web-content, poetry, or any other collection of words, there is enough reading material out in the world to suit any interest, and the options are always expanding. More than just a fun and interesting hobby, reading also involves a whole host of different mental exercises that are incredibly helpful for the aging brain.

Reasons to Read

Reading can help to support seniors’ capacity to continue living happy, fulfilling, and healthy lives in older age. As seniors read, they can build upon and grow new areas and depth of knowledge while also promoting wellness, tending to their mental health, bettering their critical thinking skills, and working to fight memory-loss, all through the simple and enjoyable act of reading. The following are some reasons that reading is particularly beneficial for seniors and their wellbeing:

  • Providing Mental Stimulation: Taking part in activities that are engaging and stimulating to the brain is crucial for brain fitness and keeping the mind strong. Reading is a form of exercise for the brain that helps to keep it stimulated and healthy.
  • Increasing Understanding: Reading can help seniors to feel a greater sense of connectedness to other people’s stories, their surroundings, and the events that take place within the world. Through reading, seniors can cultivate a more well-rounded understanding of things that they may not have dealt with or experienced within their own lives. This can help them to better relate to people from different backgrounds, as well as to the greater socio-cultural context.
  • Critical Thinking Skills: The fact that reading often requires the patching together of numerous bits and pieces of information to create an understanding of the overall picture of the story or article means that there is a significant amount of critical thinking involved. The use of these critical thinking skills through reading strengthens them so that seniors can better solve problems and connect pieces of information in their daily lives.
  • Reducing Stress: The sense of distraction and escape that the right book can provide can help seniors to take a step back from their problems for a while and can help to lessen stress and the negative effects that it can have upon their mental and physical health.
  • Improving Memory: A lot of memory comes into play in reading, as seniors must keep track and remember ever-evolving plots, characters, settings, and past events of a story. It is in this way that the act of reading can play a role in supporting healthier memory for seniors, because each time a memory is made, new pathways are created in the brain while old ones are also strengthened.
  • Growing Knowledge: Reading is an opportunity for seniors to learn and explore new areas of knowledge that can help to ignite new interests or build upon existing ones. Knowledge explored through reading can be helpful in daily life, allowing seniors to better understand new things, creating new topics of conversation for social situations, and fostering the sense of satisfaction that comes along with learning something new.
  • Expanding Vocabulary: Having the ability to speak articulately and express oneself in an effective way can be empowering for seniors. Reading new material can expose seniors to new words and uses of language that they can use in their daily lives in ways that benefit their ability to communicate effectively and with a sense of pride.

Reading can be a really fulfilling and enjoyable pastime for people from any background, at any age. Whether we want to lose ourselves in fiction, learn new information about current or past events, hunt through magazine articles, or any other type of reading, the act of reading itself can be both enjoyable and valuable for our bodies and minds. While seniors may have started to face new challenges that alter their ability to read as they grow older and may start to experience changes in vision, there are options such as large-print books or adjustable electronic reading devices that are accessible by seniors in Ottawa that can help them to keep on reading even with the changes they are facing.  Seniors should try to make reading a part of their daily lives so that they can reap all the valuable benefits that it has to offer for their overall wellbeing.

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