Read with Care: ‘A Literature-Based Intervention for Older People Living with Dementia’

The Centre for Research into Reading, Information and Linguistic Systems (CRILS) at the University of Liverpool has published a new evaluation report into the impact of the Get Into Reading model as a literature-based intervention that can reduce the symptoms of dementia.

Here at The Reader Organisation we’ve been delivering our Get Into Reading groups in a range of older people’s and dementia care settings since 2006. The read aloud model in these environments allows people to listen to a short story or poems, join in with reading and conversation, or to simply have the space and time to relax. Residents and staff have consistently praised the positive effects this can have on mood, interaction and state of mind. Our first anthology, A Little, Aloud was inspired by such weekly groups, which we run all over the country.

The findings in ‘A Literature-Based Intervention for Older People Living with Dementia’ demonstrate that Get Into Reading activity does produce a significant reduction in dementia symptoms and benefits the quality of life of both the residents and staff-carers. The groups allow members to share opinions and be listened to, engage with those around them, and contribute to something meaningful. The experience can be both stimulating and soothing, as shown by this poem written by one of the care home residents included in the report:

Emily’s Poem

A big thank you
For the lady who reads poems for us residents on Wednesday

A kind lady has visited us to read a poem or two,
She also encouraged us to read one or two too,
Such peace and joy she brought to us that day
Filled me with delight.
You have put such happiness into my life,
I am now able to sleep better at night.
Although I am 101 years of age and partially blind –
You have given be the inspiration
(with my magnifying glass)
To read more and write and unwind.
You certainly give me a lift, which I appreciate.
Enjoying reading poems definitely eases my mind.

Our society is currently facing a dementia crisis and there is much that needs to be done to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia, and for their carers. The Department of Health’s groundbreaking report earlier this year called for major improvements in dementia care and research by 2015, and this report from CRILS, funded by The Headley Trust, is one step towards this aim. Its motto is ‘Read with Care’ – something The Reader Organisation does wholeheartedly.

The full report is available to download on our website.

We are also holding a showcase event next week to present our award-winning Get Into Reading Pilot Project for Older People with Dementia and Carers in Scotland – find out more here.

5 thoughts on “Read with Care: ‘A Literature-Based Intervention for Older People Living with Dementia’”

  1. I’ve been lead reader at a reading group for people with memory loss since February. These groups, called “Reading Allowed”, are run by Arts for Health Cornwall, and funded by NHS and Cornwall Council. They have been set up in order to allow people with memory loss, esp Dementia, to continue to enjoy literature. We have several lovely volunteers, and a couple of participants, one of whom has early onset Alzheimer’s, and would love to meet others with the same condition. Our group, in St. Austell library, every Wednesday at 3:30 – 4:30, is fun, informal, and relaxing. Please feel free to contact me if you know of anyone in Cornwall who would benefit from coming to one of these reading groups. or just pop in to the library… 🙂

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