Whether you enjoy novels, history books, how-to guides, or anything in between, you might be surprised at how many advantages good reading habits can offer during retirement. Reading regularly can be good for you, your family, and your community—in ways you may not have previously considered. Best of all, you have more reading choices in the digital age than ever before. You can opt for traditional paperback or hardcover books, or ebooks on an ereader or tablet. If you have vision problems or tired eyes, you can even listen to audiobooks instead.
Here are some of the benefits of reading during your senior years, both alone and with others.
Stay Comfortable and Avoid Boredom in Any Weather
One of the best upsides of being an avid reader is that it gives you something fun and healthy to do in any season or weather. In the late summer and early fall, reading indoors can be a great way to beat the heat and avoid overexertion. During the winter, there’s nothing cozier than curling up with a hot beverage and a good book. Of course, during the temperate months, you can also read al fresco in your favorite garden, park, beach, pool, or other outdoor spot.
Help Grandchildren Boost Their Reading Skills
If you have grandchildren aged anywhere from 3 to 12, you can do a world of good by reading to and with them regularly. First, it’s an excellent way to bond with the grandkids while giving your adult children a break from parenting responsibilities. Your grandchildren may also be more relaxed and comfortable reading with you than with teachers or peers in a formal school setting, which can help them build more positive associations with books. There are other general benefits of reading to children as well. Reading to and with children helps to improve their:
- Language development (building vocabulary and understanding of grammar)
- Empathy and emotional awareness (through exposure to lifestyles and perspectives other than their own)
- Enjoyment of reading (which leads to healthy voluntary reading habits)
- School readiness
- Literacy and reading skills
- Academic performance
- Self-esteem and confidence
Bring the Joy of Reading to Children in Your Community
No grandchildren? No worries! You can help children in your community become better and happier readers by volunteering with a local school, public library, or nonprofit organization dedicated to improving literacy or education. Lending a helping hand to a local reading program can boost literacy and academic performance for a new generation of learners, changing their lives for the better. However, you’ll also enjoy the advantages to you:
- Giving back to your community in a fun and meaningful way
- Providing more structure to your daily, weekly, or monthly schedule (and giving you something to look forward to)
- Staying socially active
- Revisiting beloved books from your own childhood and discovering new trends in children’s books
- Maintaining and improving your memory as one of the benefits of reading aloud
Meet New People
You might not think of reading as a social activity, but it can be an excellent way to connect with old friends and new people. Here are some ways to do this:
- Start or join a book club. Consider creating or joining a book club with your friends, neighbors, or other community members. Since you’ll be talking about your reading first and foremost, this is a stress-free way to have conversations with new people about a shared interest and get to know them better. If friends and family live far away, you can start a virtual book club as another way to stay in touch.
- Visit your local library. Getting a library card and taking frequent trips to a public library to check out books is a great way to get out of the house and interact with community members. Libraries are not only great environments for reading and people-watching, but are also excellent places to learn about community events, book clubs, and volunteer opportunities.
- Explore reader forums and social media. In the digital age, you can connect with fellow bookworms and exchange book recommendations from the comfort of home—in your pajamas, if you want. Consider joining a social website or app for book lovers and staying active on it. This will allow you to socialize on your own terms in a low-pressure environment, and it will help keep your digital skills up to date as well.
Boost Your Cognitive Health
Naturally, reading is good for brain health, too. This is especially important for seniors, who are at greater risk of cognitive decline. Just a few of the cognitive benefits of reading books include:
- Learning new things (which builds brain plasticity)
- Maintaining fluid intelligence (the ability to analyze information, solve problems, and make decisions)
- Preventing or delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Processing emotions
- Promoting better sleep
Reap the Benefits of Reading With Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury
Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury is definitely for bibliophiles! We have an active library committee with shelvers and other volunteers who keep the spacious area organized. As a bonus, a fourth of the fiction and mystery books in the RWC Library are large print!
RWC’s active and enthusiastic book group meets at 10:30 a.m. on the 4th Monday of the month in the Rappahannock Room. The book of the month is announced in the employee newsletter – the Gazebo Gazette and several copies of the book are provided for sharing. The book group is open to the greater community and all are welcome to discuss thoughts and insights on the latest tome.
A continuing care community (also known as a life plan community), RWC provides the highest quality living experience for discerning senior adults. Situated on 165 beautiful acres outside the village of Irvington in Virginia’s Northern Neck, RWC residents choose to live here for the independent and worry-free lifestyle afforded in a tranquil setting.
Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury Inc. is a Virginia nonprofit corporation affiliated with the Episcopal and Presbyterian churches. All religions are welcome. Read about our residence options and living our lifestyle!