Experts encourage reading among people with Alzheimer's
Encouraging and maintaining the habit of reading helps preserve the activity and the cognitive functions of people with Alzheimer's. In fact, on Saint George's Day, the experts of Fundació ACE recommend reading among people with dementia as a tool to work on language and memory.
Although reading ability is one of the processes that people lose later, it is common for them to quit progressively this practice due to the effort involved in following the thread of the story and keeping their attention on what they are reading.
Faced with this situation, Fundació ACE experts recommend that family members and caregivers of people with dementia facilitate this activity by accompanying them in reading and making available a book or a newspaper as well as writing them, for example, a short text with clear handwriting.
Adapt the reading to the Alzheimer's phase
América Morera, deputy director of the Day Care Unit of Fundació ACE, recommends that family members and caregivers should take into account the specific needs of the person and the stage of the disease in order to adapt and facilitate readings.
"If we can adapt the readings to the needs and interests of the person with Alzheimer's, we can make this activity attractive and even allow them to remember key aspects or emotions," says Morera. In this sense, depending on the stage of the disease, experts advise to take into account the following aspects:
• Mild phase: the person can read short stories, tales or news in the press.
• Moderate phase: it is advisable to use texts such as poetry, fables or short stories that have few characters.
• Advanced stage: it is recommended to read words or sentences, written clearly. People in this phase usually react positively to proverbs, popular sayings and texts that have a special meaning for them.
Tips to facilitate reading
Maribel Vera, occupational therapist of the Day Care Unit, recommends that families provide people with dementia with different mechanisms to allow them a more pleasant experience. "While reading, it would be useful to write down notes in a notebook on the events that take place in the story, so that each time they pick up the book they can check the notes. This way, they will avoid the feeling of not knowing what they are reading, or losing the plot."
Regarding the topic of the readings provided, the experts propose to choose the favourite authors of the affected people, even if they already read the books.