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Benefits of Reading for Mental Health in Seniors

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A senior male is reading his newspaper in the morning while enjoying a cup of coffee to keep his morning routine.

As adults age, it’s certainly important to stay physically active and continue building muscle for good health. One aspect of a senior’s health they often neglect is their mental health. Fortunately, staying physically active is a great way to improve mental health.

Only some people are physically capable of large amounts of activity, though. For example, someone in an assisted living community may not be able to join a workout class or go for walks outside daily. But most people can spend time reading every day, which can be an incredible tool for improving mental health.

Benefits of Reading for Mental Health in Seniors

Reading is a great hobby that has many benefits for people of all ages. But for a population that often struggles with depression and other negative mental health issues, reading can be especially helpful. 

Memory Improvement

The ability to recall things is vital for living and social relationships, both of which are ultimately connected to a person’s overall mental health. Reading is an excellent way to increase memory performance, which benefits the mind in the long run. 

Delaying the Onset of Dementia

There’s no guaranteed way that scientists have discovered that can prevent dementia or its related diseases. But reading is one thing that can help minimize the risks. Reading and how it exercises the mind can be beneficial in preventing brain cells from dying. It also helps prevent the plaque buildup that scientists believe is partly responsible for dementia.

Stress and Anxiety Reduction

Aging adults aren’t immune to stress and anxiety affecting their mental health. In fact, they may be more susceptible to these things in some situations. Many things like money problems or lack of meaningful relationships can play into these feelings.

But one way to combat stress and anxiety is through reading. It can help alleviate loneliness and give the person a bit of respite from day-to-day problems.

Sleep Improvement

Conditions like bipolar, anxiety, or depression are linked to causing sleep issues. But the same is true in reverse. Not getting an adequate amount of sleep can actually lead to mental health problems.

Reading is a great way to combat insomnia. So, a good book may be the best solution if a senior is having trouble sleeping.

Brain Exercise

Exercising the brain is important throughout our lives. Although no evidence concludes reading or other cognitive activities will prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s, a study demonstrated that increased cognitive activities throughout life can help prevent or minimize some of the risk factors associated with developing dementia.

By helping prevent conditions like dementia through exercising their brains, aging adults give themselves the best chance at maintaining a positive mental health attitude.

A senior woman is reading a  book while sitting on a chair at the park with a smile on her face.

Prevents Boredom

No one likes to be bored. For some people, boredom can quickly lead to depression and low mood or even be a telltale sign that a person is already depressed. Unfortunately, many seniors lose the ability to do some activities that they once enjoyed.

Reading provides a way to minimize boredom. And now, with the availability of audiobooks, even someone whose eyesight is failing can still enjoy a good book.

Boost Intelligence and Vocabulary

Increasing vocabulary or boosting intelligence aren’t beneficial for seniors simply so they can be more intelligent. Both are essentially an extension of brain exercise that reading can provide. Consuming literature of any kind will increase someone’s vocabulary.

And even though one might assume that only non-fiction would boost intelligence, even fictional stories can do this because intelligence isn’t simply about knowing facts. It’s also about emotional intelligence. Increasing these thought processes can significantly benefit a senior’s ability to relate with their friends, thus improving mental health even more.

Social Enrichment of a Book Club

Being a part of a senior living community typically comes with some wonderful benefits in the form of various services and amenities. Additionally, there is usually a strong community aspect where residents are encouraged to build relationships.

A book club can be great for a couple of reasons. First, suppose a person isn’t necessarily a voracious reader. In that case, the club can act as an accountability to push onward and reap the benefits. Plus, it provides a nice social aspect to reading. And for those who love reading, the book club discussions allow them the opportunity to go deeper with books they’re enjoying.

How Senior Living Can Encourage Good Reading Habits

Finding a community with staff who are committed to their residents’ health and happiness is one of the most important things to consider when looking for a senior community. One of the best ways to figure out if this is the case is to see it with your own eyes.

If you’re considering communities in Cypress, give us a call today. Our helpful staff is happy to answer your questions and book you a tour of the community to see what it offers.

Written by Parsons House Cypress

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