Books and reading are integral to wellness and a lifeline to people who are living in long-term care

Books provide autonomy, and one of their beauties is people can select them on their own. They help with nourishing the brain, and helping people retain cognitive abilities and a deep sense of satisfaction. Nana’s Books provides a form of content consumption that is both visual and kinesthetic.

Why today’s books for dementia aren’t cutting it

I’m sure you’ve seen them: There are coffee table books and children’s books stacked up in
memory care settings for residents to enjoy. In home care, we should look at offering our own
selections of reading materials for clients, and they act as a way for caregivers to break the ice
with new clients.

They can also be an essential component of a client’s care plan if you ask the right questions.
I had a client who majored in English and had been in the Navy. The selection of literature
available specifically for people living with cognitive impairment, in my mind, would not have
been appropriate for him to read. He was used to writing essays about literature, not pointing
out cartoon animals in a cardboard book.

Why reading has been neglected

The pandemic played a large role in how people read books and stayed in tune with cultural
nuances. A New America report found that before the pandemic, 54% of respondents went to
the library, and during the pandemic, the number dropped to 18%.

In addition, Laurette Klier, the founder of Nana’s Books, warns that most people don’t know
how to disinfect books, or don’t want to ruin them in the process. As the virus found its way into
many communities, they transitioned activities out of a large area, and did more door-to-door
individual activities, rather than free-reading, etc.

The solution to a decline in reading

Klier has taken the best of nostalgic art and graphics with fine literature and poetry. From
books specifically made for veterans, spiritual individuals and artists, there are options that suit
all interests.

Her library of books is available in print and digital formats, while she’s constantly working on
new ideas submitted by readers. Home care agencies can use these books as a resource for caregivers to engage clients when they don’t have any tasks to do, want to build a better connection with a client, and to constantly engage their brains.

Reading is a lifelong skill that has no expiration date, and having dignified options to support
those needs is going to be a critical value proposition moving into the future of senior care.

Jennifer Lagemann is a former family caregiver, professional caregiver and administrator at home care agencies. She now works as a writer and researcher, helping care providers to create patient- and family-friendly websites, articles and marketing literature.