Salt Spring Community Services’ Wellness Program and Salt Spring Literacy run a program for seniors called Friendly Readers.
Volunteers read to seniors who find reading difficult due to a variety of health issues. Seniors in the program are read to wherever they live, in private homes or seniors residences.
Reading helps seniors (as it does all of us) relax, gives them pleasure and allows them to keep up with current events or areas of interest. But as we age it can be challenging to keep reading. Some seniors find their eyesight diminishing or suffer cognitive decline that makes reading difficult.
Research has shown that being read to can benefit all, even those with dementia, providing cognitive stimulation, social interaction and meaningful engagement.
Volunteer readers find the practice enriches their lives as well. Jan Jang, a recent Friendly Readers program volunteer, says, “It warms my heart that as I leave I find my hand clasped between her warm palms and she thanks me so sincerely for coming. I really feel my visit has been worthwhile.”
If you would like to volunteer as a friendly reader, or if you are a senior who would like a reader (or you know someone who would be interested), or would like more information, contact Salt Spring Literacy at 250-537-9717 or email literacy outreach coordinator Stella Weinert at email@example.com.