Keep the Mind Sharp, Keep Reading!

Keep the Mind Sharp, Keep Reading!

My grandparents were constant readers. They were happily surrounded by books in every room of their home.

As they got older they discovered large print books made reading easier. But at a certain point, my grandmother’s dementia made reading a chore for her.

She would start at the beginning of a page, but soon the letters would blur and contort and the story would fade. I realized something was up once I noticed her bookmark hadn’t progressed at all in the book she kept by her bedside table. My mother and I took turns reading to her and we immediately saw the relief and appreciation on my grandmother’s face.

The love of reading is not something you need to surrender. Ever. There are so many ways to continue to embrace it, even if there are physical limitations.

Here are some of the more common challenges for reading that can pop up, and some solutions.


Some of the books my grandfather read were massive. HUGE! Holding and propping up such a book can be painful for anyone. Thankfully we all live in the digital age now and most of our favorite books can be consumed via an e reader. Ereaders and tablets have been around for years and they are safe to use, affordable, and light to hold.


I absolutely understand this! Whether you are transportation challenged or your dance card is always booked, getting to the library to check out or return books isn’t always easy. Luckily there are ways the library can come to you. My favorite way is through a fantastically easy to use app called OverDrive. If you have a library card and a computer or smart device you now have access to your entire local library. The best part is the books and audiobooks automatically return after – so no need to worry about late fees.

Don’t forget to enjoy the simple pleasure of reading to someone or being read to.


When you think of books being read to you do you automatically think of a droning book on tape? Things have changed! Some of the world’s most captivating and engaging actors and artists are now taking side gigs as narrators of books.

The Washington Post has published their list of The Best Audiobooks of 2015. The enjoyment experience is said to be heightened because of the outstanding storytelling performance done within the audiobooks.


I mentioned the free app OverDrive, but it is not the only free option to listening to audiobooks. You can find audiobooks on Podcasts (Podiobooks is a wonderful place to start.) Project Gutenberg is a must visit site for any fan of the classics. This site has one of the oldest collections of audiobooks online.

It’s also wonderful to read a book with someone you know and love. I always think about Jo from Little Women. She spent many days reading to and caring for her Aunt March. Both women were stubborn and independent, and both women loved books. As wonderful as it is to have the independence and choice of audiobooks, don’t forget to enjoy the simple pleasure of reading to someone or being read to.

Call Erin McDevitt at Aging Your Way to get caregiver assistance.

Dresden Shumaker is a writer, advocate, and former full-time and live in caregiver to her grandmother. She chronicles her adventures in single parenting on CreatingMotherhood.

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