For many, reading is not only a way to pass time, but an enjoyable hobby. Through stories, we are able to leave our current environment and escape into another world or time, meeting characters of both fiction and nonfiction, learning new skills and helping us connect with others.
Research has shown that time spent reading is beneficial at any age, but as we grow older, reading is extremely valuable. Stress levels can be reduced when we relax with a good book and stories help us find ways to connect to characters as well as their situations. This helps minimize feelings of isolation, and you might consider joining a book club, either in-person or online, furthering opportunities to connect with others.
If you're interested in learning a new skill or hobby, how-to books are an excellent resource. Using a book to learn allows you to go at your own pace while remaining in the comfort of your own home. Perhaps you've always wanted to learn a new language, or how to cook or even write a book of your own. The possibilities are endless! A great idea is to use your local library as a resource for discovering your interests. Do some research online of books that might interest you, then go to your library's online catalog and place those books on hold. Then someone can pick them up for you, or you can just go in and check them out rather than having to wander the aisles.
Mental stimulation is perhaps the biggest benefit that reading offers to seniors. Not only can it improve the quality of your sleep and enrich your life, but reading has also been shown to slow memory loss and possibly even delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Heather Snyder, Ph. D. and co-author of a recent study on the disease said, "We talk a lot about heart-healthy habits, and it's the same kind of idea about brain-healthy habits." Keeping an active mind is as vital as maintaining our physical health and can have lasting effects later in life. So, no matter your age or the topic that intrigues you, pick up a book, newspaper, or magazine and exercise your brain!