Alzheimer's Care, Blog, Elder Law Articles

What can we do for my mother, who used to love to read but now doesn’t?

Try giving her short stories or magazines if the issue has become that books are now too long. You also can involve shorter bits of reading activities, such as asking her to read parts of recipes while you’re cooking. She’ll feel good about helping, too. Of course, there are audio books, which you can check out from your local library. You can choose from all kinds of books and other printed material. In some places, you can actually check out a tape player or other equipment to take home for as long as it might help your mother. Some of the tape players are extremely user friendly; many are intended for use by people who are blind or have other disabilities. Sometimes, headsets are available. This helps allow listening in many places — and without disturbing others. Just pay close attention to the volume. If it becomes too loud, this can cause overstimulation, which might then produce agitation, anxiety or wandering. You can check out all kinds of books — inspirational, funny, upbeat, etc. Many libraries also have reading programs. Perhaps a friend or family member can take her to one of these, making a “trip” of it, if she’s up to it. Seniors centers also offer many adult activities. Adult day care centers are another option in many areas. This can be for most of the day or for just a fixed amount of time. If your mother can still read but doesn’t comprehend, she could read to other individuals, thereby feeling helpful and building some self-esteem. Many times, seniors centers have story times, when she could either read, or be read to. You also can seek out volunteers — such as girls or boys, neighbors, church members, relatives or members of a service organization — who can read to her at her home. These are great service projects for students, who nowadays often need service hours in order to graduate. There are many people who might be willing to help: They just need to be asked. Also, reading together could be some of the best quality time you spend with a loved one. But if you’re not able to do this, don’t feel guilty. Find someone else to do it in your place. There is no doubt, however, that if you’re looking for something to do with your mother, reading to her could be a big help for both of you. Even if she does not totally understand what’s being read, she will be experiencing an activity that she has always loved, and that will feel good to her.