Like many avid readers, I got my love of reading from my family. My parents and grandparents were all big readers, my grandmother especially. She was always reading the latest thriller or political book. But when she got older and developed dementia, reading became more difficult for her. She had difficulty staying focused and following a plot. She would still buy books because I believe she got comfort from just having books around her. This was frustrating for me, because giving people good books to read is what I do and I couldn’t do this for her anymore.
At the library, I began meeting patrons who would ask me to help them find books for their parents who also had dementia and needed easier books to read. I started thinking that there had to be books for adults with dementia that were easier to follow, but not childish. So I did a little research. I found a series called Rapid Reads that are considered high interest with low vocabulary. These are short books with easy sentences and vocabulary, but still have story lines that are meant for adults. As an adult with Alzheimer’s or dementia progresses into the disease, they may or may not be able to read themselves, but they may respond to pictures or words. Shadowbox Press publishes a variety of books that are meant to be shared between a caregiver and the dementia patient and can help stimulate conversation and supply mental stimulation. These look more like a typical “picture book” but are made for adults.
The Friends of the Library made a generous gift, allowing us to purchase many of these books and create a new collection that we call the Adult Multi-Level Reads. Not only are these books great for adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia, but can also be good for ESL readers (English as a Second Language) or adults with lower literacy. I’m thrilled that the library now offers books for adults of all reading levels and hope that the community finds them another great resource of the library!