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I was disheartened when I looked at the books available to the residents of my mother's nursing home, although at first glance they seemed appropriate when I actually opened the covers I realized that they were not, for example a whole series on things like the seasons or holidays featured a lot of poetry - none of it particularly familiar - and very few pictures, and the huge tome one the wonders of the sea was more a dry encyclopedia than something to browse through, especially for those with a 10 minute attention span. No wonder I've never seen anyone with a book.
I've been looking online and was dismayed to find dedicated dementia picture books selling for $25 and up. Can anyone share what kind of books your facility has, or what your loved ones look at at home? Are children's books too childish?
(I might add that this is not for my mom since she is blind, it just distresses me to see so few activities for the other residents)

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Thank you for this thread!! I was just wondering the same thing. Dad would love the Reader's Digest condensed books, great idea!

Also, a funny story - my husband checked out a book from the library that was ON alzheimer's, to get more info after his dad started showing signs of dementia. Then my husband promptly lost the book. He went to the library and told them, "I can't remember where I put my Alzheimer's book!" LOL! I thought it was hilarious; the librarian was less amused. ;)
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Jeanne, your comments reminded me that one of my downsizing projects is to find good homes for my two+ bookcases full of cookbooks. I had planned to donate them to local libraries but have a vague recollection that one doesn't even take cookbooks.

I have the usual variety but also BHG, Family Circle and Woman's day encyclopedias of recipes - perhaps 10 or more volumes in each. There are also background and nutritional articles relating to food.

I also have specialty books on salads, hearty meals, and of course chocolate...lots and lots of books on chocolates recipes.

These are probably 30 - 40 years old, so they're definitely not current. Based on your experience, do you think women at either retirement communities, AL, or IL would be interested in these?

I've also been wondering if women in any of these facilities might have get-together cooking fests at which they test out some of the recipes, just as we might have done with our mothers when we were growing up.

(I still remember arriving home from school and helping Mom bake a specific spice cake; it was the best I've ever had. And I remember the fragrance of the spices, as well as the very unique and tantalizing aroma of chocolate being melted for frosting.)

It occurs to me also since aromatherapy is in fact therapeutic, that women and joint cooking/baking sessions might be good for other residents in the facility.
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My mother always had to have something to do, or look at. She did crosswords as long as she could. Then magazines with lots of pictures occupied her. The NH was pretty good about stocking them. I could nearly always find something to look at with her. And the staff knew that she was to have a magazine or newspaper all the time. She had a tray on her wheelchair that allowed her to read without holding the magazine.

I noticed that she liked looking at magazines with recipes and pictures of food. So I brought in a pile of cooking booklets and cookbooks. She was sitting with 3 other women so I asked if anyone else would like one to look at -- 2 of them did. The 3rd lady never had a magazine or accepted a book to look at. I wonder if her vision was poor.

These cookbook sessions stimulated a lot of conversation. It turned out that one of them had owned a restaurant, and she was happy to tell us about cooking there. Another would say, "Look at this recipe for bean soup. It is a lot like I made except I never put carrots in it." Someone else would say that one of her kids hated carrots so she always took a portion out for him before she added carrots to anything. And then they were off talking about the things their children hated to eat. I brought stacks of recipe/picture books in often, and the ladies at my mother's table were always happy to see them.

So if I were stocking a bookshelf in a care facility I would include some cookbooks that had a picture of each recipe. Also the checkout-line booklets (Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, etc.) are easy to hold and have great pictures. These things are readily available at garage sales and in thrift store.

My mother read books before the dementia, but after that she read the newspaper and magazines only.

My husband was thrilled to pieces when he could read again after having cataracts removed. He read the paper diligently each day, and he'd read some of the books in our case, and enjoyed them as if this were the first time he'd read them. He liked the Smithsonian magazine, which has very interesting pictures even if you don't read the articles.

I think large print Reader's Digest books would be ideal for some people. (Mine was probably the only college with RD books in the library! The RD founder was a major contributor!)

It is so kind of you, cwillie, to want to contribute something for the residents' enjoyment. I hope you can find some inexpensive books and magazines. I'd love to hear what you do and how it works out. Maybe you'll inspire someone else!
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Cwillie,
You are a good soul to have a heart for others as you do.

No, I don't think books geared for children would be appropriate for most persons with dementia or Alzheimers. Not knowing a lot about their needs or h o w their brain works,
I am a proponent of maintaining dignity of adults, meaning treat them as adults.

Libraries have book sales all the time. You could go there and ask their advice, or for donations to the nursing home project.
Bookmobile from libraries also make visits, ask them to come.

A senior center may want to help you with your project, can donate or send volunteers to read to the NH or Memorycare residents.
Making a notebook filled with calendar photos would be great, not too costly. Mostly because you know how to be frugal, vs. I would be spending money I didn't have on this worthy project. I love the idea.

Sorry, I had pictured in my mind used art books with wide variety of topics, the big kind that rich people lay out on their coffeetables, signed by the artist!  (I don't have any).
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Send, the most basic picture books are aimed at babies and toddlers, do you think they would be appropriate?

I had thought of making themed books featuring cats, dogs, seasons, holidays, foods, etc, but I really can't find any good pictures. Calendars may be a good source.

(I have to add, I don't have a lot of money to spend)
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Picturebooks of pets, cats, dogs.
A calendar on the wall with pet photos.

As an activity, people bring pets as therapy to nursing homes for a visit.
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Thanks for the responses Windy & GA.

Anybody else?
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I don't have that much experience with books for dementia, but what I have found is that magazines or books with beautiful photos provides a soothing, comforting experience.

NatGeo recently published a thick issue on Oceans, with so many beautiful and soothing photos that it's now my go-to (after gardening magazines) for when I need to calm down.

My father loves Country and Country Extra magazines, which are also filled with nature photos that literally transform moods through their sheer beauty. Both are published by the same company that publishes Reminesce and Reminesce Extra, both magazines for older generations.

The Country mags have a few short articles, nothing weighty, but rather enjoyable tales. There are also short clips on experiences with family, animals, and life.

I think I now know where to donate the collections of magazines Dad has.
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My father loves the large print, readers digest condensed (what a concept !?) books. He's 87 with mild to moderate dementia. His short term memory is about gone but he still enjoys reading these things. Plus he forgets and mom or I can recycle them back to him as new ones. He gets one per month in the mail. I think it's about $20 per month.
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