How people with dementia can continue to enjoy books

Reading is a great pleasure for many of us, allowing us to escape into another world for a couple of hours and it is great for cognitive stimulation and keeping our minds active, however for people with dementia it can become difficult due to changes in the brain.

Reading book

Interpreting visual information can be tricky and often concentration levels are low and so they are unable to follow a complicated plot. Many people with dementia may also have sight problems, making it even more difficult to see the printed words.

There are still many ways we can help loved-ones with dementia enjoy books. You could try reading with them or reading to them. Having a grandchild read to them is often a nice activity for both and a great way for them to spend some quality time together.

It’s also a good idea to try shorter stories with less complicated plot lines or even poems and picture books as these can help evoke memories and trigger conversations.

Find out what you’re loved-one’s favourite books are as many are now available in audio formats as well as printed. These can be found online or in libraries and are a great way for a person with dementia to still enjoy their favourite stories.

The Reading Agency has set up a UK-wide programme called Reading Friends, to help connect people by starting conversations through reading. Groups meet regularly to chat and read stories together – it aims to empower, engage and connect older people who are vulnerable and isolated as well as people with dementia and carers.

Pilot projects are currently being delivered across the UK, including Wales in Conwy and Swansea, so head to to find out more about you or a loved-one joining a local group.