Senior book lovers live longer. This is according to the Yale University researchers. They say that a chapter a day makes a huge difference. So, this is great news for the older population who loves to read books. The study was posted online in the Social Science & Medicine journal. Furthermore, it claims that there is a 20% reduction in mortality risk among book readers. This is in comparison to non-book readers as observed within a 12-year follow-up period.
There are 3,635 subjects in the study all older than 50. They were divided into 3 groups. First, the non-book readers. Second, those who read books up to 3.5 hours each week. Lastly, those who read books for more than 3.5 hours every week. Remarkably, those who read books lived 2 years more compared to those who didn’t open any. Come to think of it, an extra half hour spent on reading books does wonders to the longevity of the elders. In fact, authors noted that reading books, just like proper diet and exercise, is good for the body. The activity promotes a “significant survival advantage”.
Just like the muscles in the body, the brain needs its regular exercise too.
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 immeasurable gains they get out of it:
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.
It improves memory
As mentioned in benefit #2, reading books provides mental stimulation. This prevents the elders 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.
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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