The benefits of reading and writing for older people
Maintaining your reading and writing skills as you get older can make a big difference to your quality of life. In addition to cognitive benefits, reading and writing activities can provide enjoyment, ease stress and help you retain your independence.
These skills can help you keep control of your own affairs and activities on a day-to-day basis, too. For example, you may find it easier to stay up to date with current affairs and to keep in touch with family, friends and loved ones using the internet. These factors can help reduce the risk of isolation and loneliness.
Making the most of reading and writing
One of the best ways to increase the time you spend reading and writing is by incorporating activities into a regular routine. It’s also a good idea to make sure that you have the right equipment for your needs to help make these tasks easier.
For example, you may read the newspaper every morning (either physically, or on a tablet or smartphone) or take out a subscription to a favourite magazine. Or perhaps you enjoy audio books or radio podcasts, particularly if you have sight problems or a physical ailment that makes it difficult for you to read the print media that they enjoy.
There are many options available if you’re less physically able, such as ergonomically designed holders for books and newspapers. There are also grip pens to make writing easier. Finding the right computer for your needs could prove very beneficial if writing by hand is no longer possible.
The charity Remap creates tailor-made equipment aimed at giving people independence. One such device is an automatic ebook page turner.
As we age, our ability to see well in dimmed lighting is reduced, so it’s a good idea to check that there are good lighting conditions in your home.
If you struggle to read smaller text in books, newspapers or magazines, and glasses don’t help, you could try reading aids, such as magnifiers and enhanced lighting. You may also like to explore digital options; many ebook readers, laptops and computers have the option of increasing font size and backlighting to make reading easier.
Our article about hearing and eye tests gives more advice on spotting problems with eyesight, getting an eye test and different vision aids that can be helpful.
Cognitive exercise can help us maintain our mental health as we age. It can also help people with dementia.
Find out more about how to stay active and healthy in older age, with advice on doing gentle home exercise.
Read about ways to increase the quality or quantity of contact with other people and tackle feelings of loneliness.