There is an ever-increasing amount of time being spent in front of televisions, computers and mobile devices by people of all ages, while pastimes such as reading literature are being forgotten.
It can be a challenge to encourage your loved ones to stay active and entertained, and while watching television is an option, studies have proven that there are other mentally stimulating activities such as reading that can protect the brain against memory loss, and even diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
The power of literature
Reading as an immersive activity has the power to allow people to creatively interpret and explore new points of view. Along with an opportunity to envision things never before encountered, this provides a mental workout recommended by doctors to preserve cognitive function, especially as we age.
Our loved one’s eyesight and coordination may not stand the tests of time. However, it has been proven that listening and reading comprehension are very similar processes to each other, so while it may take some adjustment to get used to listening instead of viewing, your loved one may still enjoy being read to.
Agingcare.com has provided an insightful list of reasons why reading may be beneficial for your loved one as they head into their senior years.
Laughing is the best medicine
Reading humorous books is an opportunity to share a good laugh. This is especially beneficial with all the positive effects on the mind and body that laughter can bring.
Stimulates the mind
A study showed that those who engaged in mentally stimulating activities across the course of their life-span showed slower rates of memory decline. Engaging in frequent cognitive activity later in life also reduces this decline, as reading ‘exercises’ your memory, which is critical for short-term recall with everyday events.
Sharpens decision-making skills
This is an ability known as fluid intelligence, which is the analytical and reasoning power needed to solve problems, and is known to decline throughout adulthood, can be improved with reading.
Delays the onset of diseases
Research has shown that adults in their 70s, who have engaged in mentally intense hobbies – such as reading – from ages 20 to 60, are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Another study found that more frequent mental activities, including reading, help to preserve brain structures which are important to cognition in late life.
It only took six minutes for participants in a study to relax both muscle tension and heart rate once they started reading a book. Reading is a great distraction that can help dissolve stress and tension. If your loved one is feeling stressed, suggest a book they can immerse into to take the edge off any anxiety they may be feeling.
Improves sleep patterns
Creating a bedtime ritual, such as reading, signals to the body that it is time for sleep. Reading induces sleep better than falling asleep in front of electronic devices, which has been proven to disrupt rest.
Reading is a great pastime that can be enjoyed for all ages. Keep your loved one’s mind stimulated by reading a good book. Give it a go today!
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