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Book loving seniors live longer

Senior book lovers live longer according to Yale University researchers. Research findings showed that senior book readers survived almost two years longer than those who didn’t read regularly.

The recent study carried out by Yale University researchers and published online in the Journal of Social Science & Medicine, concluded that “book readers experienced a 23 percent reduction in risk of mortality over the 12 years of follow-up compared to non-book readers.” The data was obtained from a longitudinal Health and Retirement Study sponsored by the National Institute on Aging. The study looked at 3,635 subjects, all older than 50, whom the researchers divided into three groups: those who didn’t read books, those who read up to 3.5 hours a week and those who read more than 3.5 hours a week.

More than being a great pastime, senior book lovers also benefit a lot from reading. Provided that seniors choose a positively-themed book, here are some positive gains they get out of it:

Reduces stress

Reading a great novel can distract the elderly from the monotony and stress of their daily lives. It takes them to a new place and time. Moreover, it helps their mind relax and drain away their tensions.

Reading books stimulates the mind

As one gets old, the risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia increases. Reading books can prevent the early onset of these diseases. They can even get to the end of their lives without contracting any of these illnesses. This is because reading books stimulates the mind. Just like the muscles in the body, the brain needs its regular exercise too. Reading pages of books for a few minutes daily keeps the brain in a state of engagement and action.

Improves memory

Reading books provides mental stimulation. This prevents seniors from having quickly-degenerating brain cells because their mind is regularly at work. However, an important note is that they should ideally enjoy the kind of mental activity that they do.
Senior book lovers not only mentally benefit from reading books. This can also improve their personal and social relationships:

It makes them more confident

Getting older does not mean that one stops learning. There’s a lot seniors can gain from reading books including widened knowledge and vocabulary. While it may seem impossible to remember everything they read, the information and experience are deposited in their brain. Plus, discovering new words give them extra confidence in communicating with others.

It can socially connect them with others

Think about book clubs in aged care homes or in the local community. Joining one or two not only encourages reading but socially connects older people together. This way, they live more meaningful social lives.

Encourage your senior loved ones to become book lovers

As primary carers or aged care providers, it is important to encourage the elderly to be senior book lovers. They can be encouraged by stocking wonderful reads at home or in aged care facilities. Introducing them to book clubs is also helpful and never too late to start.

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