Reading out loud to someone is an intellectually stimulating and emotional experience. It can connect them to the past (a favorite old book or poem) and present (current events).
For activity partners with dementia, note that many people can still read even when they may be losing speech. For client Sally, Hummingbird activity specialist often sits on the patio or cafe of her assisted living facility to read together. Sometimes, she reads a poem from large print and other times she will hold a magazine or newspaper up for Sally to peruse in quiet. Watching Sally’s eyes focus on different parts of the page, the activity specialist turns the page when her eyes move away. Sally returns her gaze to the headlines and pictures. Looking at the paper together draws on Sally’s strengths of reading and observation to engage in this familiar vocational activity.
Tips on Reading Aloud:
- Choose a comfortable and quiet location to set the mood.
- Sit close enough to your activity partner so they can hear you.
- Begin reading, pausing often to make comments and share thoughts on what you have read.
- Try this during rest time or before bed to help transition to sleep.
- For added enjoyment: make a cup of tea or other light snack, cozy up with a soft blanket.