Reading barriers

Seniors often give up reading because of changes to their health:

Low vision. Many seniors have one, or a combination, of four common eye diseases: glaucoma leads to peripheral vision loss; macular degeneration leads to central vision loss; diabetic retinopathy causes “spotty” vision; and cataracts cause blurred or “filmy” vision.

Dementia. With dementia core mental functions may be impaired: memory, communication, language, reasoning and judgment, the ability to focus and pay attention, and visual perception. It’s caused by damage to brain cells and can’t be reversed.

Poor health. Chronic medical conditions can make it hard to read. Toward the end of life, seniors are often bedridden with cancer, heart and lung diseases, diabetes and other health problems.

As serious as these conditions are, they don’t need to mean the end of reading. Instead, they signal a need for change. For example, someone with low vision can switch to large print books or audiobooks. Someone with early dementia can change from reading novels to short stories. And people at the end of life often enjoy having a loved one read aloud to them.

There are many options.