People with dementia enjoy reading – this is how

Caregivers of people with dementia are real-life heroes. The cognitive ability of a person with dementia is slowed down, sometimes significantly, requiring the caregiver to adapt to the condition and pace activities together accordingly. If you are a family member or a friend, you know how difficult it is to plan activities together that are meaningful and enjoyable to both, and at a level that the person with dementia can participate in.

While reading is an activity that all age groups enjoy, finding reading materials suitable for a person living with dementia is no easy task. Children books are plentiful, but they are not necessarily age or life-experience appropriate for the person with dementia. So, what to do?

Marlena Books is a Canadian-based social start-up company that authors, publishes, and sells ‘dementia-friendly’ books. The company is named after the founder Rachel Thompson’s grandmothers—Marilyn and Helena. Its mission is to ‘encourage individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia to keep reading’, with dignity and pleasure.

It is exciting to know that a social entrepreneur has finally stepped up to do something meaningful for the increasing population of people with dementia. I’m especially proud that Rachel Thompson and I are fellow University of Waterloo alumni.

Senior care facilities and public libraries should definitely stock up on these books. I did my part by contacting my local library and requesting them to purchase copies. Will you do that too, for your local libraries?

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