By Sheri Ross, Central County Regional Supervisor
I recently read an article on how reading to young children provides strong long-term benefits. Reams of studies link reading aloud to kids with academic success, creativity, and a stronger bond between parents and their offspring. This started me thinking. What if we start reading aloud to people with dementia? Could we see the same results? If we pick the same time everyday, relax together with the person with dementia and read with passion, perhaps we can help curb “sundowning” or any other excitable behaviors.
I always read to my kids when they were young, not only did they enjoy it but it has been some of my most cherished memories. If the staff and other caregivers started reading to the residents one-on-one and giving that individualized attention, there could be positive results. Personally, I would suggest trying anything else before medicating a person to change their behaviors. If family members also try reading on a daily basis to their parent or loved one, it may bring back the bond between parent and child, brother and sister, etc. It certainly couldn’t hurt. I believe somewhere in the memories of people with dementia their bond with family exists.