Independent senior living communities typically offer various programs and services to residents to enhance and enrich their lives in retirement. One of the services that the professionals at Northfield take pride in is our senior wellness services, including services for nutrition, exercise, and social connectedness.
One activity that can strengthen social connectedness along with other benefits is reading. Older adults, in particular, often connect with their peers about the things they have read. Thus, promoting the senior wellness activity of social connectedness. Not only does reading bring people together, but reading is great for mental health.
If you or a loved one is nearing retirement and looking for a new place to call home, call the senior living experts at Northfield at 844.334.1490 to learn more about the senior wellness services offered to residents.
How Does Reading Improve Senior Mental Health?
Reading regularly has been proven to be a great way to stave off some of the effects that may naturally occur as people age, including memory loss, depression, and other mental health issues. One of the most pronounced benefits of reading is how it improves one’s mental health. Surprisingly, you don’t have to read for hours a day to get these mental health benefits. In as little as six minutes a day or as few as twenty pages, reading can greatly impact the brain’s ability for cognitive thinking. Reading has also proven to reduce stress and strengthen mental acuity, each having additional benefits to the health and wellbeing of older adults.
Notably, the science behind this is that reading strengthens neural circuits and pathways in the brain. This happens while simultaneously lowering heart rate and blood pressure.
Some suggested reading for seniors may include the following:
- The local paper
- Non-fiction books
- Fiction books
What it boils down to is – it doesn’t matter what you read. Not only that, reading doesn’t have to take up hours of your time to reap the benefits.
Benefits of Reading
The benefits of reading abound as scientists understand how reading engages the brain:
- Improved Memory: Ultimately, the focus that reading requires improves memory. This is better than many of the passive activities that may consume someone’s routine once they retire.
- Exercise for the Brain: Another benefit to reading is that it helps you learn something new. Learning gives the brain a workout and helps keep it sharp. You’ll never know when something you learn while reading will come up in conversation. This circles back to how important social connectedness is in senior living communities.
- Stress Reduction: Next, reading reduces stress. Simply put, reading can serve as a distraction from real-world problems. Physiologically, this is because studies show that reading lowers heart rate and blood pressure. If you’re not stressed out, you’re less likely to overeat, smoke, or drink excessively.
- Fosters Empathy and Improved Social Skills: Studies show that reading makes people more empathetic. With empathy comes improved social skills. Ultimately, this could be beneficial for adjusting to life as a resident in a senior living community like Northfield.
- Perspective: With aging comes a lot of life changes. Some of them are harder than others. However, sometimes reading can put things in perspective. Reading is good for mental health in these situations because it gives you something to focus on other than what is going on around you.
- Promotes Relaxation and Better Sleep: Reading promotes relaxation. An added benefit to the relaxation that comes from reading is that sleep may improve. Oftentimes, seniors struggle with sleep. Ultimately, getting better sleep promotes better mental health.
Learn More About the Reading and Mental Health Connection at Northfield
Northfield offers a variety of senior wellness activities. One of the things Northfield prides itself on is its social connectedness. Neighbors are encouraged to talk because having friends is essential to staying healthy. With that in mind, surely, residents have come together to form a book club or two. To inquire more about the senior wellness activities Northfield provides, give us a call at 844.334.1490 to speak with a staff member.