Blog - Meth-Wick Community

House plants get a big (green) thumbs up on their therapeutic benefits

Because we live in a high-tech world, it’s good to remind ourselves that the some of greatest gifts to humankind come from simple, natural sources. Take plants, for instance.

NASA has been studying the effects of plants on air quality for almost 20 years. What have they found? Plants are natural air purifiers. Why should we care? Because Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, according to Forbes. Our living space is full of toxins or “offgassing” of chemicals from paint, carpet, countertops and dry wall, and more.

Take heart: you can take action
An article on the Eco Watch website, takes a look at research on the benefits of house plants, including studies by Dr. Bill Woverton. He found that common houseplants absorb toxins like benzene and formaldehyde, which are emitted by many of the aforementioned culprits, as well as other offenders like cleaning supplies and fabric (those worn by us and our furniture). Research has also shown plant roots and soil bacteria are also effective in removing toxic vapors.

Top 5 air cleaning plants
Not all plants are created equal when it comes to absorbing toxins. But no worries: The Eco Watch article lists the top five plants, which we share below. For the best 10 plants, and other insights on going green and saving money, check out the book Just Green It!

Best plants for purifying air:

  1. Areca Palm
  2. Lady Palm
  3. Bamboo Palm
  4. Rubber Plant
  5. Dracaena or “Janet Craig”

Despite multiple studies heralding the benefits of plants, there are detractors. Criticism of the NASA research is that it was conducted in a very controlled environment, which does not reflect real life. Hopefully future studies will take this challenge and replicate the research in home environments. We’ll keep an eye of for this research and will report back!

Plants boost mood

Notwithstanding the “plants as air purifiers” debate, we have more reasons to share on why you should include plants in your home.

Studies have shown that people are happier, less stressed and more productive when plants were added to their environment—whether it was an office or a hospital.

A study at Washington State University found that adding plants to a computer lab increased humidity (but not excessively) and reduced dust by 20 percent. Because indoor dry air and dust can irritate a person’s nose, throat and lungs—in both those who suffer from allergies and those who don’t—this is a big (green) thumbs-up for foliage in the office and the home. Plants reduce the chance for symptoms of allergies, including fatigue, coughing, dry throat and runny nose.

Two other studies showed that plants at work offer benefits. When Norwegian researchers introduced foliage plants into an office environment, participants reported better health and a reduction in discomfort from dry throat/hoarseness, coughing, and fatigue. A study in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands found that workers were more productive, happier with their jobs, and had better concentration when plants were added to their offices.

Going green in hospitals

But the therapeutic benefits of plants aren’t restricted to home and office. A 2009 study sought to discover if indoor plants in hospital rooms enhanced health outcomes of 90 patients recovering from hemorrhoid surgery. The patients were assigned to either a plant room or a control (plantless) room.

Data was collected on length of hospitalization, pain medication used, vital signs, ratings of pain intensity, pain distress, anxiety and fatigue. The study’s authors concluded that the study:

…confirmed the therapeutic value of plants in the hospital environment as a noninvasive, inexpensive, and effective complementary medicine for surgical patients. Health care professionals and hospital administrators need to consider the use of plants and flowers to enhance healing environments for patients.

Regardless of your motivation, adding a plant or two or five to your home is a good thing.

All research aside, plants give us enjoyment just by sharing our space. On any day, especially a rainy March day in Iowa, the greenness is a welcome friend.

Meditation & Seniors

Our goal in this blog is to shine a light on ways to help you live your best life. As we’ve discussed on more than one occasion, a wealth of research offers new insight into how we can counter our brain’s natural decrease in function as we age. From knitting and photography to painting and dancing, scientific studies are showing us the importance of keeping our minds active and in a constant learning mode.

Today, however, we’re going to consider the importance of also teaching our minds to do nothing. This practice, known as meditation, has shown to pack a big punch when it comes to improving the mind as well as the body.

When practiced on a regular basis, meditation can lower blood pressure, reduce depression and anxiety, and boost the immune system.

The art of breathing

An article in Senior Citizen Journal explores the results of a 2013 study by the University of California Los Angeles on the health benefits of meditation. At the core of meditation is taking deep breaths and staying focused on your breathing to the exclusion of all distractions.

Deep breathing increases the amount of oxygen reaching organs, which in turn has a calming effect, reducing anxiety and depression. Increased oxygen in the bloodstream also boosts the body’s immunity and increases the amount of oxygen in the brain, which reduces fatigue.

Which meditation is right for you?

While physical exercise is good for your health, the specific benefit is determined by the exercise you choose, be it Yoga, tennis or weight lifting. The same is true of meditation, says the Transcendental Meditation website, which identifies three main types of “meditation brain pattern.” Understanding the brain benefits will guide you in selecting the meditation that is right for you.

  • Focused attention. Concentrating on an object or a concept, such as kindness, is a form of meditation that stimulates activity in areas of the brain responsible for processing sensory information, emotions and attention.
  • Open monitoring. With mindfulness meditation and some forms of Zen, the practitioner is observing reality without judging. This contemplative meditation is responsible for a relaxed state of mind.
  • Automatic self-transcendence. This form of meditation turns on the whole brain and allows a sensation of mental limitlessness. Activity decreases in the area of the brain responsible for sensory information while activity increases in areas responsible for high level functioning and reasoning, as well as relaxation and calm.

Getting started

Numerous bodies of research, including ongoing projects by the University of California Los Angeles, show that a small daily investment of time can reap many health benefits. If you’d like to explore meditation, a good place to wade in is UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center website. It offers free self-guided meditation sessions that make it easy to start meditating right away.

By blocking out the busy and demanding world for a few minutes each day, you can enjoy better health. Breathe in. Breathe out. Feel better.

Food safety for seniors: best practices for handling, preparing and storing food at home

There seems to be a lot of media stories in recent years about food safety. While many of us think we are up to snuff on best practices in the kitchen, it never hurts to have a refresher course.

EatRight.com, the website of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, offers wonderful information and guidelines for minimizing your risk of getting food poisoning. Their website reports that each year food poisoning affects one in six Americans. Twenty-five percent of those sickened represent vulnerable populations: older adults, children and pregnant women.

Older adults are more at risk because our immune system grows weaker as we age. Adding to the immunity factor is the inconsistency of older adults in properly handling food, according to the Food and Drug Administration. To help counter this trend, EatRight.com offers tips specifically geared towards seniors:

  • If you have eye glasses, be sure and wear them when preparing and handling food. This helps ensure you read labels accurately and can identify foods that look spoiled.
  • Turn up the lights.
  • Use a black marker to label perishable food with the purchase date.
  • Save your energy for cleanup by cooking simple dishes and buying pre-chopped, frozen vegetables.
  • Don’t rely on sight and smell to determine if food is safe. Use a food thermometer to make sure meats, poultry and egg dishes are cooked until done. Also check the shelf life of leftovers using the Keep it Cool Chart.
  • Set up a support system of family and friends to help with kitchen tasks when you’re low on energy.
  • Reheat hot dogs, lunch meat, and fermented and dry sausage until steaming hot. These items, while pre-cooked, may become infected during processing and packaging.

Proper food preparation is also essential to ensuring foods are bacteria-free:

  • Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Do this during and after food prep.
  • Rinse all produce, including the ones with inedible skins, like bananas and oranges. Scrub firm-skin produce, like apples and cucumbers, under running water.
  • Clean the lids of canned food before opening.
  • Clean all surfaces, including counter top, refrigerator and microwave.

How you store food is every bit as critical to food safety as cooking and handling. Here are EatRight.com tips for best practices in that area:

  • Refrigerate food within two hours of cooking or purchasing (or one hour if the temperature is 90+degrees) to slow the growth of bacteria.
  • Store leftovers in covered containers that are 2” deep or less and eat the food within 3-4 days.
  • Use a thermometer to ensure the refrigerator is at or below 40° F and the freezer is at or below zero° F.

If you’d like a food “cheat sheet” that’s easy to consult, you can download the “Is My Food Safe?” app on Google Play and the iPhone App Store. The app is a free service of the Home Food Safety program, a collaborative effort between the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and ConAgra Foods.

Using ‘love language’ to communicate with a person with Alzheimer’s

People with Alzheimer’s have unique needs. And although their memory robs them of the details of their life, it doesn’t take away their ability to feel love.

A Live Strong article offers ideas on how you can show a loved one with Alzheimer’s you care. The article is written by Debbie Barr, who co-authored a book with Gary Chapman and Edward Shaw titled Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade: the 5 Love Languages and the Alzheimer’s Journey.

The book is based on the “five love languages” concept introduced by Chapman in a number of published works. According to his concept, each of us has at least one emotional channel. When someone uses that channel to communicate with us, we feel loved.

Love Language Tools

In her Live Strong article, Barr shows us how we can tailor Chapman’s concept to enhance the life of a friend or loved one with Alzheimer’s:

  • Physical Touch: Expressive touch, such as holding hands or stroking the hair, or task-oriented touch, such as assisting with bathing or dressing.
  • Quality Moments: Giving someone your undivided attention because as memory fades, life is experienced only in moments.
  • Gifts: Purchased, found or handmade tangible tokens of love.
  • Words of Affirmation: Compliments or words of kindness and encouragement.
  • Acts of Kindness: Anything done to preserve a person’s dignity or make them feel useful. For example, including a person in a conversation even though he can’t contribute or asking him to “help” by folding towels.

In order to get the most out of the above tools, you will need to identify the primary love language of the person with Alzheimer’s. For help with this, Barr suggests using the diagnostic quizzes provided in her book.

Putting ideas into action

In order to demonstrate how you might adapt the love languages concept, Barr offers suggestions based on a scenario where you are communicating with your grandfather, whose love language is Words of Affirmation.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Brag about him to others while he is present.
  • Tell him you are proud of the things he accomplished in life.
  • If he asks the same question over and over, answer respectfully and patiently, responding each time as if the question were being asked for the first time.
  • Tell him that you have taken care of everything.
  • Tell him he looks handsome, even if he’s wearing the same clothes he wore the day before.

Communicating with a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be frustrating and often appears to be futile. That’s why Barr’s suggestions are so inspiring. As the late poet Maya Angelou said, “…people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

2017 Technology Show Introduces Innovative Products for Seniors

Every January, a Las Vegas exhibition called CES showcases leading-edge consumer electronic products, attracting people from around the world. The fact that the 2017 show was attended by 175,000 tech fans proves it is, indeed, a massively popular event.

This is the place where innovative technology products are often introduced or get a major leg-up on popularity. That’s because journalists from just about every news source—from traditional outlets like The Wall Street Journal to digital sources like Salon.com—write about their favorite tech product from the show. That’s how Meth-Wick staff learned about exciting technology that will enhance the lives of our current and future residents. And we couldn’t wait to share it!

Senior-focused technology

Laurie Olov of Aging in Place Technology Watch did a great job of recapping the show’s best products for older adults. Here is an edited excerpt of an article she recently wrote for the company’s website.

  • Floodlight Cam by Ring. This offering has potential for older adults living alone. And it is also a reason by itself to obtain a smartphone. “The Floodlight Cam is a motion-activated security camera with built-in LED floodlights, a 270-degree field-of-view, facial recognition, a 110-decibel siren alarm, two-way audio, and is infrared for night vision. With the Ring app, homeowners can manually flash the floodlights, sound the alarm, and zoom or pan to focus. Users can set customizable motion zones and a schedule for the lights to turn on and off automatically.”
  • Outdoor Camera by Blink. This security camera does not require a smartphone app that senior might not have. This is an outdoor camera, the Blink XT, comes with weather-proofing, 1080p video, and a night vision sensor. Blink is releasing a whole host of upgrades and gear to complement its camera system. Blink’s Sync Module, connects to your WiFi and serves as the central hub for all the small wireless cameras, has an upgraded version with 4G Cellular support and battery backup so your system remains up and accessible even when WiFi is down and there’s no power. Blink is also releasing new entry sensors to monitor doors and windows, a new water sensor to notify you of any unexpected leaks, a 105dB siren that can be manually or automatically triggered via motion sensor, and a keypad to arm and disarm Blink without resorting to the app.
  • Intelligent Electric Vehicle by WHIIL. This is a wheelchair using all the latest in battery technology, wheels, and more. In addition, it is connected to a phone that provides all sorts of information for understanding how the vehicle is performing. The Model M, shown at CES, was designed by automotive engineers and drives like a premium electric vehicle, distancing itself from antiquated power wheelchairs and scooters designed decades ago. The wheelchair industry has seen very little innovation in design and technology. The company’s website also provides rental information for those who want to test drive the chair.
  • Item Tracker by Chipolo.  This is somewhat similar to WeTraq and TrackR with an Amazon Alexa interface “Alexa, find my phone.” Chipolo Item Tracker is similar to these other item location offerings that could be used to find things, pets and people, except for one key difference – this tracker (configured on a web interface) emits a loud noise until you locate the item – particularly useful if a family member has some memory loss. The loud sound could be good (in your house) or not-so-good (out in public).
  • Combo wheelchair/suitcase by Modobag. This is a trackable, motorized carry-on bag that the owner can sit on while moving down long concourses in airports. It was discussed (somewhat dismissively) in the media by young folk who could not imagine its utility in a large airport. But it could be an invaluable tool for older adults who must change planes in mega airports, like Chicago and Los Angeles, or have physical limitations and find walking of any duration a challenge.

These are exciting products designed to make seniors’ lives easier and more enjoyable. And the best news of all is that more products are created almost weekly as companies launch to fill the needs of aging Baby Boomers.

Fitness programs for older adults remain popular with fitness professionals worldwide

It came as no surprise to Meth-Wick staff that “programs for older adults” is predicted by fitness professionals worldwide to be one of the year’s top 20 fitness trends. Meth-Wick’s priority is to help each resident live their best life, and this includes providing leading-edge wellness and fitness programs.

In its report on 2017 fitness trends, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) ranked fitness programs for seniors at eleventh place and another aspect of senior wellness, functional fitness, followed on its heels in twelfth place.

Compared to previous ACSM surveys, fitness programs for older adults slipped a bit. It took eighth place in 2016 and 2015. But this trend is likely to stay strong in future top 20 trends as baby boomers transition into retirement.

Trend vs. fad
ACSM has released its fitness trend report every year since 2007. The editors of ACM’s Health & Fitness Journal annually route an electronic survey to health fitness professionals worldwide with the intention of guiding health fitness programming.

In its summary of survey results, ACSM’s President-Elect Walter Thompson writes:

“These annual surveys of health fitness trends in the commercial (usually for-profit companies), clinical (including medical fitness programs), community (not for profit), and corporate divisions of the industry continue to confirm previously identified trends.”

The ACSM survey appears to have merit as a predictor of what’s hot in fitness. Certified, experienced professional trainers and strength training have stayed in top trends since being identified by the survey 11 years ago.

Here’s a list of ACSM’s top 20 fitness trends for 2017. Many may look familiar if you participate in Meth-Wick’s fitness and wellness programs.

  1. Wearable technology. Activity trackers, smart watches, heart monitors, etc.
  2. Body weight training. Using your body for resistance rather than weights.
  3. High intensity interval training. Short bursts of intense exercise followed by short periods of rest.
  4. Educated, certified and experienced fitness professionals.
  5. Strength training. Using weights.
  6. Group training. Exercise classes with five or more participants.
  7. Exercise is medicine. This is a global initiative encouraging doctors to include physical activities in treatment plans.
  8. Yoga
  9. Personal training.
  10. Exercise and weight loss.
  11. Programs for older adults.
  12. Functional fitness. Using strength training to improve one’s ability to perform daily living tasks.
  13. Outdoor activities.
  14. Group personal training. Personal trainer instructs 2-4 clients in the same session, at a discounted rate.
  15. Wellness coaching.
  16. Worksite health promotion.
  17. Smart phone exercise apps.
  18. Outcome measurements.
  19. Circuit training. Exercises completed in succession for optimum benefit.
  20. Flexibility and mobility rollers. Usually made of foam, used to improve circulation or ease muscle discomfort.

You can read complete information on each trend on the ACSM’s website.

If you’d like to learn how Meth-Wick programs help residents exercise body and mind, contact Eryn Cronbaugh, director of wellness and recreation.

A yarn you can believe: knitting reduces risk of Alzheimer’s & other dementia

The National Institute on Aging estimates that over five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia in older adults. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, multiple research studies over the past decade have found ways to slow its onset.

Alzheimer’s is one of many forms of dementia, or loss of cognitive functioning, which includes thinking, remembering and reasoning. That’s why many researchers focus on cognitive experiments to evaluate the impact that various activities or tasks will have on the thought process.

The Zen of needlework

Kathryn Vercillo, author of “Crochet Saved My Life,” wrote about a Mayo Clinic study on the Lion Brand Yarns website.

Citing the study, Vercillo said the following factors show why cognitive exercises, including knitting, may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 30 to 50 percent:

  • Learning a new skill, especially a difficult one, fires up the brain cells and helps prevent Alzheimer’s. Knitting and crochet fit the bill, offering many techniques that require focused attention in order to be learned.
  • By improving hand-eye coordination, you can build nerve networks that protect against Alzheimer’s.
  • Through crafting, a person experiences emotional self-care. This reduces stress, important to reducing early Alzheimer’s.
  • A correlation has been found between depression and Alzheimer’s. Crochet and knitting (as well as other needlework) help battle depression.

All forms of dementia benefit

While it is great news that knitting and crochet can help reduce the likelihood of Alzheimer’s, the benefits extend to other forms of dementia as well. This ripple effect was explored in an article by Lab Reporter, a news site that reports and interprets research in technology, science, health and environment.

The article suggests that the skills set for knitting make it a great activity for people at any stage of dementia.

(People) with onset dementia can start with simple patterns and (those) who are just beginning to show signs of the syndrome can work with more challenging patterns. As a subject learns how to knit they are able to progressively move on to more difficult knitting patterns. This allows (them) the opportunity to continue to strengthen their cognitive ability and fight off the symptoms of dementia.

Although this is exciting news, scientists don’t completely understand the connection between intellectual stimulation and Alzheimer’s. But they do theorize that mind-challenging activities provide “cognitive reserve,” which is the brain’s ability to operative even when it is damaged.

So break out the crochet hook and knitting needles (or any other creative tool of choice). The research continues to give a thumbs-up to the benefits of challenging creative activities to the mental health of older adults.

Tips on De-Stressing the Holidays for People with Dementia and Their Families

While the holidays are a busy and stressful time, it is especially so for families who have a loved one with dementia. The key to enjoying family gatherings is to plan ahead and have reasonable expectations.

Mara Botonis, author of “When Caring Takes Courage,” offers a helpful guide on how to make the holidays enjoyable for those with dementia and the people who love them. An overview of her suggestions is provided on Alzheimers.net, an online community dedicated to supporting people with dementia and their caregivers.

  1. Be inclusive. You can help your loved one celebrate the season by encouraging reminiscing, asking them to help with easy activities, and including them in conversations.
  2. Be forgiving of yourself, your loved one and your family. Focus on the positive and overlook critical or insensitive comments.
  3. Show your loved one your best self. Be patient and reassuring and try to refrain from correcting them.
  4. Redefine success. Remind yourself that dementia is a progressive disease, which means holidays will become more difficult with each passing year. Focus on important things, like creating moments with your loved one, and do without less important activities like sending cards and baking day and night.

More tips for merrier holidays

Author Jolene Brackey was a speaker at a recent Caregiver Wellness Day, sponsored by Meth-Wick. Brackey offered her own version of tips for coping during the holidays, which are also covered in her book, “Creating Moments of Joy.”

Here is a shortened version of her suggestions:

  • Call a family meeting before the holidays. Discuss traditions that must be continued and those that can be discarded or changed.
  • It can take two weeks for the person with dementia (and their caregiver) to recover from a family gathering. To reduce stress, break up holiday celebrations into mini celebrations: Christmas church service one week, family dinner the next week, open gifts the week after that.
  • Keep gatherings to a small number of family members. Have multiple family dinners to accommodate all.
  • Put the caregiver and the loved one with dementia first. Everyone else can adjust.
  • Make sure the loved one with dementia sits next to the person they are most comfortable with.
  • Be sure the loved one is never left alone in a crowd.
  • Place something in the loved one’s hands or lap like a pet or a plate of finger food to provide a positive distraction from the noise and stimulation.

Each family needs to focus on creating moments and memories and forego the complications that cause stress and take the joy out of the season. Let’s give ourselves and our family members the best possible gift by putting feelings ahead of festivities. Have a wonderful holiday season!

Yale Study Finds Book Reading Can Add 2 Years to Your Life

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Expanding on last week’s blog, a study by Yale University found that people who read books live an average of 23 months longer than those who don’t.

The findings were based on data from the National Institute on Aging’s Health and Retirement Study, which repeatedly observed 3,635 subjects over the age of 50 for a 12-year period. Using responses to questions regarding reading habits, Yale researchers divided subjects into three groups:

  • Those who didn’t read books
  • Those who read books up to 3.5 hours each week
  • Those who read books more than 3.5 hours

Researchers examined whether older adults who read (printed) books have an advantage over those who don’t or those who read newspapers and magazines.

What they learned

The results were impressive. During the 12-year Yale study, participants who devoted more than 3.5 hours each week to book reading were 23 percent less likely to die than non-book readers and those who read up to 3.5 hours weekly were 17 percent less likely to die.

The authors noted that subjects who read newspapers and magazines did not gain the “survival advantage” shown by book readers. They noted two possible explanations for book-reading benefits. “First, it promotes ‘deep reading,’” the authors theorized, which encourages the reader to become engrossed in the story and to make connections between what they are reading and the world in which they live. “Second, books can promote empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence, which are cognitive processes that can lead to greater survival.”

Although participants did not indicate the genre of books read, Yale researchers concluded that most were fiction based on a National Endowment for the Arts survey that found 87 percent of book readers choose fiction.

Future research

The Yale authors suggest future research to more fully explore the book-reading phenomenon:

  • Does book reading offer additional benefits?
  • Do e-books and audiobooks offer the same advantages as the printed book?
  • Does the genre of the book affect or determine the benefits?

Embrace the book advantage

While results of the Yale study are significant, they also provide motivation for older adults to bulk up on book reading. Citing a study that found older adults watch an average of 4.4 hours of television each day, the authors proposed, “Efforts to redirect leisure time into books could prove to be beneficial in terms of survival for this population.”

So let’s all turn off the television and turn on our brains by reaching for a book.

People Who Read Fiction Novels Enjoy Better Brain Function

Bookworms, take heart. Two studies reveal significant health benefits as a result of reading books. We’ll discuss one study in this blog and tackle the second one next week.

In December 2013, Emory University’s website reported the results of its study on how fiction novels enhance brain function. The study, titled “Short and Long-Term Effects of a Novel on Connectivity in the Brain,” explored the health benefits of reading fiction over nonfiction.

What they did

The study’s authors wanted to see if reading fiction novels would enhance brain function. Twenty-one students participated in the experiment, which began with a resting state functional MRI (fMRI), performed five consecutive days, to detect areas of brain activity by blood flow. This was followed by a nightly assignment to read 30 pages of the 2003 thriller “Pompeii,” chosen by researchers because of its gripping, page-turning plot. Each morning after a reading assignment, students were given a quiz to ensure they had read the material, followed by an fMRI of their brain. An fMRI was also performed for five straight days after the students finished the book.

What they found

The researchers discovered that reading a novel improves brain connectivity and function. And the benefits do not happen only as the story is being read: brain scans showed the participants’ brains were still engaged the day after, as though the brain was still processing the story.

In order to understand the significance of the findings, you must first understand that the human brain is a densely connected network, with about 70 percent of the brain connected to all other areas. While most areas of the brain areas “know” each other, some areas have greater influence than others. Brain functions take place across various areas rather than a single region of the brain. Because of this, a person’s behavior requires interaction (connections) between multiple brain areas.

Which brings us back to the Emory University study. Gregory Berns, the study’s lead author, explained the importance of their research this way:

“The neural (nervous system) changes that we found…suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the (story’s hero or heroine.) We already knew that good stories (could) put you in the shoes in a figurative sense. Now we’re seeing that something may also be happening biologically.”

This ability to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes (even those of a fictional character) improves what’s known in psychology as “theory of mind,” or our ability to understand that others have beliefs and desires different from our own. This, in turn, creates empathy for people in the real world. Think about that: relating to a book’s fictional main character can help us (adults as well as children) feel compassion towards people who are different from ourselves. Those who have developed theory of mind are better able to socialize, which is important to the health of everyone, especially older adults.

The take away

The novel’s storytelling engages multiple areas of your brain, helping you to think better and more efficiently. So it’s important to read fiction on a regular basis to reap the rewards.

To help with this endeavor, Meth-Wick’s Book Club hosts interactive discussions between a library volunteer and our residents on a variety of topics. Whether you are a solo reader or one who enjoys a stimulating group discussion, you’ll be pleased to know new books are added monthly to each of our three on-campus libraries.