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Old 06-26-2020, 05:23 PM   #1
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Recommendations? Books/stories to read to elderly dementia patients

I am looking for things to read to someone in the middle stages of dementia who has lost the ability to read on their own. I was thinking short stories, because holding their interest for very long is difficult. And I'm thinking simple, fun, easy to understand stories since mental processing power is no longer a strong point.

Does anyone have any suggestions for individual stories or collections of short stories? I would think ideal might be something that could be read in 20 minutes or so - one sitting, one story. Probably juvenile in complexity, but with some interesting stuff for someone 90+ years old. Then on to the next story at a later date. Trying to remember what happened during the previous reading session is probably too much to ask. Even shorter books that could be read in a few sittings might be OK, if the plots are simple and the characters few.

I was thinking some of the older stuff like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or Treasure Island might work. Although it's been so long since I read those I can't remember how simple/difficult/long/short they are. I was a kid myself the last (and only) time I ventured into those.
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Old 06-26-2020, 05:44 PM   #2
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The Laura Ingalls books perhaps? Winnie the Pooh stories?

Is the person male or female?

James Herriot books, if I remember correctly each chapter is basically a short story.

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Old 06-26-2020, 05:48 PM   #3
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Thanks. Female, 91 years old.
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Old 06-26-2020, 06:16 PM   #4
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Thanks. Female, 91 years old.
Was she a reader when she was young? Reading books or stories she read as a teen or in her twenties may resonate more with her because pieces of them may still be in her mind and memory.
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Old 06-26-2020, 06:20 PM   #5
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The Laura Ingalls books perhaps? Winnie the Pooh stories?
I like these suggestions. Along the Pooh line, perhaps Mary Poppins? The Betsy-Tacy books?

Given that dementia sufferers can remember early years better than yesterday, perhaps old favorites from her childhood, if she can remember them or you know them?

But otherwise, I’m going to suggest picture books. I think there are many amazingly sophisticated (at the picture book level) picture books these days with fantastic artwork. You could read the text and discuss the pictures and that might draw her in. As an aside, dementia sufferers can enjoy coloring books, too.
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Old 06-26-2020, 06:59 PM   #6
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Andrew Lang fairy tale collections. Peter Rabbit. Dr. Seuss.

Bedtime story books - pictures and short text.

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Old 06-26-2020, 10:07 PM   #7
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Thanks for the ideas. Picture books would be my choice too, but the limitation I have is that the elderly person is in a senior facility and there is no visitation now due to coronavirus. So I am talking about reading either over an Alexa "drop-in" via Amazon Echo devices, or over a Zoom video chat. Pictures can be shared over Zoom, and I might try playing with that. But I'm thinking that most likely I will be able to do audio-only reading. Trying to watch book pictures on a computer or tablet might be too much confusion for someone with dementia. The staff at the senior facility would set up the Zoom chat, but then the person I would be reading to is left on their own to "watch" the Zoom chat after initial setup by the staff. I'm not sure how a picture book (via screen sharing) would work in that environment. Maybe. Or maybe not.
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:45 AM   #8
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For short stories try

http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-st...ndexframe.html

I frequently copy and paste their stories into notepad (txt) to use as exercises on my speed reading software. The length varies, but you can check this before putting on an ereader. They have various genres, including Children's.

I also second the Winnie the Pooh suggestion. Timeless.
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Old 06-30-2020, 07:11 AM   #9
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I'm dealing with this right now with mom. She was an avid reader until this disease took that ability away. I tried audio books. They agitated her because she knew she couldn't remember characters/story lines. And I know her well enough to know that if I tried to play a children's book she would get angry with me for treating her like a child. But she loves listening to music. Her era music. She knows the songs and can sing along to some of them. But, everyone is different.
Good luck.
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Old 07-01-2020, 07:42 PM   #10
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O. Henry

He liked to write short stories with surprise endings. You should be able to tell if she remains attentive all the way through by how she responds to the ending.

All his work is in the public domain now. You can find many of his stories on the internet.
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Old 07-04-2020, 09:16 PM   #11
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When I am an old woman I shall wear purple?
Poetry maybe?
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Old 07-05-2020, 07:03 PM   #12
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Poetry maybe?
I have never enjoyed poetry. If I had to read it to someone, I think the overall experience would be ruined by my gagging and choking as I tried to spit the words out. Thanks for the suggestion though!
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Old 07-05-2020, 08:35 PM   #13
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I have never enjoyed poetry. If I had to read it to someone, I think the overall experience would be ruined by my gagging and choking as I tried to spit the words out. Thanks for the suggestion though!
Even Ogden Nash and Shel Silverstein?

Winter is the king of showmen
Turning tree stumps into snow men
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over lakes
Smooth and clean and frosty white
The world looks good enough to bite
That's the season to be young
Catching snowflakes on your tongue
Snow is snowy when it's snowing
I'm sorry it's slushy when it's going
---Ogden Nash

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Old 07-06-2020, 12:58 AM   #14
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Well, I do very much enjoy playing Chopin on the piano (his nocturnes especially). He was called "The Poet of the Piano". So I guess I'm not totally without class. For your listening pleasure - those of you that enjoy poetry - here is one of my favorites to play by The Poet of the Piano:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtIW2r1EalM
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Old 07-08-2020, 06:48 AM   #15
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A friend of mine used to read out loud Sanit-Exupery's The Little Prince to her mom. She (her mom) seemed to take really well to it. Might be worth a try
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