Reading books can be a great way to maintain cognitive function in older adults, and recent research has shown that it may be even more effective than other activities like crossword puzzles. A study published in the journal “Frontiers in Psychology” found that regular reading for pleasure can lead to better memory in older age. The study’s authors, from the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois, argue that reading develops cognitive abilities and positively affects both episodic and working memory, which tend to decline with age.
The study involved 76 participants between the ages of 60 and 79. The participants were given iPads with a selection of carefully curated books, chosen in collaboration with a local library. These books were intended to be engaging and diverse, and not just popular titles. The participants read for 90 minutes a day, five days a week, while a control group performed crosswords and other puzzles on their iPads for the same amount of time.
The researchers tested the participants’ cognitive abilities at the start of the study and again after eight weeks. They found that reading books significantly improved the participants’ episodic and working memory more than solving crosswords and puzzles did.
The study’s authors suggest that engaging activities like reading are the best way to maintain cognitive function and prevent age-related declines. They also note that reading can be an enjoyable and accessible activity that older adults can do on their own, making it a great way to maintain cognitive health.
Overall, the study suggests that reading books can be an effective way to train the memory of older adults and to enjoy better cognitive function in old age. It can be an enjoyable and accessible activity that older adults can do on their own, making it a great way to maintain cognitive health.