For older people and those living with dementia, shared reading groups improve quality of life through cognitive stimulation, social interaction and meaningful engagement each week.
Carers and care home staff notice that improvements in mood and concentration last long after the group has finished, demonstrating the wider impact of the groups.
“Mondays have taken on a completely new aspect. I’ve got something to look forward to now, for the first time in years.” Care home group member, Jewish Care, London
‘Residents get so much out of the poetry – it’s not like the other creative stuff we do. Other stuff, like craft and things, well, they get bored and wander off. There’s something about the poetry, I don’t know what it is but they love it.’ - Activities Coordinator, care home, Wirral
The outcomes of our work align with the government’s national strategy ‘Living well with dementia’ to provide “high quality treatment at whatever stage of the illness and in whatever setting” through:
“Isn’t it funny? We come in with nothing and go out with all these thoughts.” Reading group member, living with dementia, Devon
Evaluation of our shared reading groups shows:
Research: A Literature-Based Intervention for Older People Living with Dementia
The conclusions of a six-month quantitative and qualitative study found that:
The study also found that short and long-term memory was positively influenced, listening skills were improved and the provision of activity by an external organisation enhanced patient care.
Liverpool and North West: Halton Borough Council, Knowsley CCG, Knowsley Council
Wirral: Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council
London: Barnet London Borough Council
South West: Devon Carers, Wiltshire Council
Older People and our Volunteering projects: Our volunteering projects in Merseyside and Barnet train volunteers to read with older people in care homes and people with dementia, improving the wellbeing of residents and volunteers alike.
Our shared reading groups for people with dementia have been featured in Taking part: activities for people with dementia, a book by the Alzheimer's Society detailing stimulating, enjoyable activities for carers and people with dementia at all stages of the condition, reflecting examples of recent best practice and innovation in dementia care.
These special workshops show you how to share our A Little, Aloud anthology with older people in care environments, producing enriching and enjoyable shared reading sessions and building skills and confidence in those working with older people.
Our older people projects are running in Liverpool and Merseyside (with our Merseyside Big Lottery Volunteer Scheme), North London and South West. Visit our 'Where We Work' pages for more information about our work with older people in these regions.
In April 2011 The Reader Organisation began delivering a 6 month Reader in Residence pilot within eight Bupa care homes, five in Merseyside and three in London, delivering groups and providing training for staff. Read about the project and its outcomes in this evaluation document.
This report by CRILS found that a literature-based intervention provided by Get Into Reading produces a significant reduction in dementia symptoms and benefits the quality of life of both the residents and staff-carers, with references to effect on memory, listening and enhanced patient care.
The Reader magazine offers a mix of new poetry and fiction, classic and neglected works and interviews with leading literary figures.
Share the joy of reading aloud with our poetry and short story anthologies
If you have any suggestions on how we can enhance The Reader experience for you, please get in touch by filling out our quick form. Thank you.