Streamway reading program proving beneficial for residents with cognitive impairment

The activity is helping residents reminisce and encouraging meaningful conversations

Life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Christina Doughty says a book program offered at Streamway Villa is proving to be a valuable tool for engaging residents with varying degrees of cognitive impairment because of the reminiscing the activity brings and the conversations it fosters.

One part of the program centres on large-print books for residents who have more advanced cognitive impairment. Many of these books are Montessori-based and focus on childhood memories, farm life and living in a rural environment.

“When we are reading these books, we always stop and ask the residents, ‘what does this bring to your mind?’,” Christina explains. “That creates discussion – it’s not only a book club, it’s also a reminiscing circle.”

The Cobourg long-term care home is also offering other reading opportunities to residents who have mild cognitive impairment.

Recently, residents have been enjoying books from author Mitch Albom, who received critical acclaim for his 1997 memoir, Tuesdays with Morrie, which residents are currently reading.

Residents recently completed reading another of Albom’s books, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, which tells the story of a man who dies, goes to heaven and meets five people who had influenced his life.

Christina says this book brought about some unexpected conversations from residents when they began discussing the people they would like to meet in the afterlife.

“You would think that this might be a difficult thing to talk about, but a lot of residents want to talk about it,” she says.

September is World Alzheimer’s Month, which is dedicated to raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive impairment as well as challenging the stigma attached to dementia.

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