Benefits of Reading for Older Adults

The world's population is aging quickly, the number of the population over 60 years old is expected to nearly double between 2015 to 2050.  According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, the prevalence of mental illnesses in adults over 65 years old is an estimated 17-30%. That means between 289,000 to 680,000 older adults in Ontario are affected by mental health problems. 

Research has shown the benefits of reading for seniors include:

  1. Enhancing memory
  2. Better decision-making skills
  3. Delay onset of Alzheimer's/other types of dementia
  4. Reducing stress and anxiety
  5. Better sleep
  6. Reduce feelings of loneliness

Another study had also looked at the impact of audiobooks on older adults and had found significant improvement in mental health in elderly people that participated in audio book sessions. It was effective on mental health dimensions such as paranoid ideation, psychosis, phobia, aggression, depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive behaviours. 

Did you know that Markham Public Library has a shared reading program, a form of bibliotherapy where poetry and literature is read aloud for the group to discuss? Check out future dates and register here.

Or do you want to read some books featuring older adult protagonists? Here are some titles that we've curated just for you:

View Full List


Alzheimer's Australia: Bibliotherapy Read-Aloud Benefits
Chartwell: Words of Wisdom: Reading your Way to Health and Longevity
Harvard Health Publishing: Reading Books May Add Years to your Life
The Impact of Audio Books on the Elderly Mental Health
McMaster Unversity: Reading to escape isolation
Philips Lifeline: 5 Proven Benefits of Reading for Seniors
Psychology Today: Helping Older Adults Find Happiness During COVID-19
Smithsonian Magazine: Being a Lifelong Bookworm May Keep You Sharp in Old Age