In our clinical work over the past years, our multi-disciplinary senior care team observed that many adults living with memory challenges are disheartened by their apparent inability to read. Collaborating with people living with dementia, we identified the barriers many residents encounter
when attempting to read. With residents taking the lead, we experimented with a variety of modifications to text, language, graphic layout, content and illustrations to increase the readability of printed material for older adults.
Applying these adaptations, we developed a collection of short books and articles that most people living with memory challenges can enjoy independently. Readers’ responses to these books have been overwhelmingly positive. Leisurely reading through a book, at their own pace, in their own
way, is a simple pleasure they deeply appreciate.
Wondering how our adapted reading material would be received by a broader range of readers, in different settings, we brought our books to a variety of long-term care and assisted living communities as a pilot program. We in-serviced staff members and support partners regarding how to use the books and to optimize residents' reading experiences.
During multiple care community visits, we observed staff members and residents using the books. Residents, staff, volunteers and family members of each community endorsed the books enthusiastically and provided helpful input for further improvements.
Our pilot program confirmed our belief that there is an enormous need for recreational reading material designed to compensate for the particular visual, attention, memory and language deficits of people living with cognitive changes. Although conventional newspapers, magazines and books are inaccessible to most older adults, their desire to read for pleasure, on their own, remains strong.
Following the direction of individuals living with dementia, Reading2Connect® was born.
Susan Ostrowski, MA, MS, CCC-SLP
Reading2Connect® is honored to receive the following recognitions.
2021 Mather Institute Promising
Practices Award Winner
2021 Beryl Institute Patient Experience Research Grant
American Speech and Hearing Association 2020 Recent Clinical
Achievement Award and 2023 Innovator
2021 Dementia SMART Winner
Enabling more people to access The Reading2Connect® Program, we're proud to partner with the AGE-u-cate® Training Institute. AGE-u-cate is a dynamic, progressive organization creating better lives for older adults nationally and across the globe.
Igniting change in aging services, AGE-u-cate delivers effective and affordable staff and support partner education, and brings life enrichment programs to adults living with cognitive changes.