Reading as an Antidepressant

Aging undoubtedly brings change. Friends die, family members move away, visits become fewer and feelings of isolation begin to take root. Physical barriers may limit travel and access to transportation…all of which may cause depression.

When a Senior shows one or more symptoms of depression (increased negativity, lethargy, and feelings of hopelessness) intervention is needed. Reading is an excellent accompaniment to mental therapy. Attitudes improve when reading a self-help book and often the need for additional therapy is diminished. Depression should be diagnosed and treated by a professional, however, reading is a quick and simple choice to alleviate the blues.

Reduce or Prevent Cognitive Decline

Reading helps to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Better vocabularies, improved concentration, and focused thought processes result from reading. Alzheimer’s and dementia are certainly not prevented but there does seem to be an indication the likelihood of memory loss is lessened in those who read.

Survival Rates and Readers

The University of Michigan studied the reading habits of three groups of Seniors over a period of 12 years: non-readers; those who read at least 3.5 hours a week and those who read on a regular basis. Studies indicated the groups reading at least 3.5 hours or more a week lived nearly two years beyond their non-reading counterparts.

The study also involved diverse types of readers: individuals who read novels and those who read primarily newspapers and magazines. Book readers lived longer than those who read newspapers and magazines.

While more research is needed to prove how books affect people, certain types of books have been attributed to enhanced benefits. For example, people who read novels for pleasure demonstrated less stress, slept better and relaxed more easily. Researchers have found people develop a higher level of self-esteem and have better coping skills in difficult situations when they read.

A Friend for Lonely Times

Seniors may find their negative feelings dissipate when they read and immerse themselves into the world of a book. The positive messages found in books help to address specific issues and cope with loss and change. Time passes quickly when positive messages are found in books and incorporated into lives.

A book could never replace a person; however, it may offer some relief from the pain of loneliness. Time is passed in a more uplifting manner with a new outlook on life. Books challenge our thoughts and encourage us to think of the world in a different way. Humor and comedy, always good reads, lighten the reader’s soul.

Audio Books

Arthritis, poor eyesight and additional health problems may make reading challenging or even impossible. If a large print book is still difficult to read, audio books may be purchased or found at most libraries. They may also be accessed with the touch of a button on CDs, MP3 players, iPhones, and other current technology. Applications for a free service, Books for the Blind Program, may be found online or at a local library.

A move to a Retirement Living Option is an inevitable lifestyle change. Bridge to Better Living helps to make the transition easier for everyone. Contact BBL for a consultation and discussion of appropriate Retirement communities. Our consultants have the resources to navigate a smooth and less stressful transition into Retirement Living. If you are looking for Independent, Assisted Living or Memory Assisted Living give us a call. Bridge to Better Living is always available at no cost to the client. We care. Read about us on our website.