Reading to a Person with Dementia- Best Books Reviewed

reading to a person with dementia

Various studies have shown that reading to a person with dementia helps their imagination, thinking and memory. Even if we read to a group of people and not just an individual, we have a positive impact on the listening group.

This article will highlight the benefits of reading to person’s with dementia and identify what books would be most suitable.

To assist our viewers with what and where to buy books, we have identified and reviewed the best books that can be bought for people with dementia.

Reading During Different Stages of Dementia

reading during different stages of dementia

Reading to people with dementia relieves the stress, tension, and anxiety they may experience due to the disease during different stages. What matters is your calm presence, the time you spend on activity, and daily reading routine.

Position a person with dementia in a comfortable reading place and read to them. They can have their eyes closed while you are reading.

If a person falls asleep during an activity, do not wake them. You can take the fact that the person is sleeping as a compliment, as it means that person feels safe and relaxed next to you.

A Mayo Clinic study confirmed that reading also affects insomnia (connection between dementia and sleep).

If you introduce reading as a routine into the life of a person with dementia and read to them daily before going to bed, the person will know that it is time to go to bed and will calm down.

Your reading, however, will most likely lead them to a carefree dream.

Unlike watching television, which has been proven to keep people awake for a longer time, or the program content affects their sleep (nightmares, fear, tension, worries).

Books Connect Us

reading to a person with dementia

The content of the books enables conversation, arouses interest, evokes emotions and stimulates thinking.


Some people with dementia, even though they can no longer read on their own, still like to keep books near them.

A person who once loved and read a lot, and has favorite books, will find comfort in them. He or she  may want to just look at them, hold them or smell them. The books are evoking emotions and feelings with people with dementia. For this reason it is important to have books in a home for elderly people.


Books can also be an essential element of a conversation.

With them, you can relive memories and life stories of a person. This is especially so with books that contain a lot of pictorial material. You can slowly review the pictures with the person with dementia, ask questions, and encourage spontaneous conversation.

Books stimulate the mind. Those of you who have a relative who doesn’t recognize people because of advanced dementia; maybe he/she forgets what they did that same day; or says very little, will


A book can be a wonderful connection between you and a person with dementia. By reading, you can create a pleasant atmosphere, an activity that makes sense and, above all, connection.

Make your usual time and visits to the person with dementia as beautiful and enjoyable as possible.

What Book to Choose when Reading to a Person with Dementia

what book to choose

Here we cover what to read and offer point our viewers in the direction of available resources that can be purchased.


Reading is slower when reading poetry. There is less text and the same text can be read multiple times, line by line.

a walk in the Garden poetry for dementiaA Walk in the Garden2-lap book (lays flat)
Large print
Verses from nature, poetry and scripture
1-sentence text
Full color drawings
Hard cover
5 STARSAlzstore
Love Poems for the Young at HeartLove Poems for the Young at Heart- nostalgic poetryLarge format
Designed for dementia
Award winning (Dementia Care)
20 poems
Full color
For adults (not children)

PaperbackNo ratingAmazon Readementia

Folk songs

Folk songs help with bringing back memories. Memories of singing together and folk tales.

This can open conversation about when they sang certain songs (holidays, socializing, war). Permitting emotions to come to life!

Fairy tales

Like with folk songs, fairy tales may bring back childhood memories, together with memories of raising children.

These books have lots of pictures with only a little text Your storytelling can be funny, serious, exciting, and you can change your voice when reading.


In the first phase of dementia, people still like to solve mental games, train their memory, compose and draw. Puzzles from nature are especially interesting.

Draw the pattern activity book for dementiaDraw the Pattern ActivityWipeable sheets (reuse)
Designed for dementia
Suit early to middle stage dementia
Keeps active for long periods
Suitable for visually impaired
10 page book ~ 8.5" x 5.5"
Completed with or without supervision
no ratingAlzstore
snow queen magic painting book for adults with dementiaSnow Queen Magic Painting BookSuitable for early to middle stage dementia
Brush over to bring out colors
Mess free activity (no paint)
no ratingAlzstore
Alzheimer Store- Through the Seasons ActivitiesThrough the Seasons Activity BookDesigned for adults with memory loss
Designed by expert (science)
Simple & enjoyable
Large format
Colored pictures
Theme- seasons
Suitable for early to middle stage dementia

Includes Christmas in winter section (some people may not share beliefs)5 STARSAlzstore
Alzheimer Store Strengthen your mind
Activity book for dementia
Strengthen Your Mind Brainstorming Activity BookBrainstorming activities on variety of topics
Answer key
Suit early stage dementia
Tips given for engagement
Reviewed & tested by experts in dementia
no ratingAlzstore
Sensory Book Fidget Book for adultsStrengthen Your Mind Brainstorming Activity BookDesigned for adults with dementia
Made from assortment of fabrics
Stimulating & therapeutic
Engages body & mind
Protective cover/case
4.5 STARSAmazon Readementia
Large and Giant word find books Alzheimer StoreLarge & Giant Word Find Books- set of 4Large print
Easy to medium skill level
80+ pages
Large 8" X 11" format
Stimulate the mind
Soft cover formatno ratingAlzstore
The Ultimate Memory Activity Book for Dementia Patients AmazonStrengthen Your Mind Brainstorming Activity BookInteractive memory book
Wide variety of games
Easy to difficult
Imaginative activities
Advice for body/mind given
130 puzzles
Designed for dementia
Science based guidance
Dr. Alexis Olson (author)-neuropsychological therapist
Some print green/brown color- not good for visually impaired
4.5 STARSAmazon Readementia
Alzheimer Store Brain GamesBrain Games & More Activities of the Mind- set of 4Keeps entertained for long periods
Good quality
Not difficult
Nice layout
Inviting colorful illustrations
Answer key
Soft cover format5 STARSAlzstore
Paint with Water Coloring Books Alzheimer StorePaint With Water Coloring Book- set of 5No mess paint
Enhances hand coordination
Large water pen
Bright colors revealed
Let dry to erase pictures ( reuse over and over again)
Suitable for early to middle stage dementia
5 themes
Keeps occupied for long periods
Smallish book4.5 STARSAlzstore


Reading recipes, talking about food and what a person used to like to cook, evoke conversation, feelings and memories. Talk about favorite foods and how they made/cooked something- family secrets, special recipes.

Magazines and Newspapers

Selecting especially old magazines and newspapers from when the person with dementia was in their youth opens up conversations about the past.

Modern magazines and newspapers, interweaving of pictures and short text, following the days and current events, also allows for conversation.

Memories 1940s Book for people with dementiaMemories 1940s for Seniors with Dementia- Mighty OakMemories 1940s for Seniors with Dementia- Mighty Oak Books BooksUSA specific
Easy to read large print
Minimal text
Full color
8.5" X 11"
Many other similar books to choose (eg: 1950s, movie stars, TV)
4.5 STARSAmazon Readementia
Everyday Fashions Depicted in Sears CataloguesEveryday Fashions Depicted in Sears CatalogueAmerican fashion 40s 50s 60s
Suit early to middle dementia
No RatingAlzstore
1950s Memory Lane1951950s Memory Lane USA & Britain0s Memory LaneLarge print
Suitable for persons with dementia
Short easy to follow paragraphs
Theme: 1950s USA & Britain
8" X 10" 35 pages
A little crowded
More British than USA
Black & white images
4.5 STARSAmazon Readementia

Religious Content

Reading the Bible, religious stories and prayer will comfort persons with dementia, especially if they have a religious background.

Songs of Faith for DementiaSongs of Faith CD's and SongbookLarge print songbook
25 Christian hymns & music
Easy to hear & sing
Played in lower keys
Uncluttered 8.5" X 11" 32 pages
Durable paper
Coated cover
2 sets available to purchase
5 STARSAlzstore
Hymns very large print for dementiaFavorite Hymns- very large printEasy to read verses
24 popular hymns
Beautifully illustrated
Lies flat for easy following
14" X 12" book
Suit early to mid dementia
4.5 STARSAlzstore
Verses From the Bible Very Large Print for DementiaVerses From The Bible- very large printHigh contrast color pictures
Stained glass illustrations
Suit early to mid dementia
14" X 12"
Book lies flat when open
5 STARSAlzstore

Photographic Monograph

These are excellent as they have lots of photos and less text, promoting browsing and viewing. Photographic Monographs foster conversations about nature, travel, sport etc.

Classic Novels

Memories are stimulated when reading popular novels, especially the classics of their day.

Anne of Green Gables- Classic novels in large printAnne of Green Gables- Volume 1Super large print
Designed for low vision readers
Easy to read
6" X 9" 480 pages
Volumes 2,3,4 also available

Paperback4.5 STARSAmazon Readementia
Moby Dick White WhaleMoby Dick White WhaleHardcover
Sea Adventures
Large 15pt font
8.25" X 11" 541 pages
Lots of description, making the text quite wordy4.5 STARSAmazon Readementia
The Complete Little WomenThe Complete Little WomenHardcover
4 novels in 1 book
43 original sketches
6.4" X 9.21" 760 pages
Thick heavy book
Some typos
Not large print
4.5 STARSAmazon Readementia
The Adventures of Tom SawyerHardcover
Twin set
Many classic illustrations
6.1" X 9.2" 640 pages
Excellent quality
Small print4.9 STARSAmazon Readementia

Feel Good Picture Books

Memories are also stimulated with images and stories of familiar experiences such as going to a beach, walking in the park or going on a vacation.

Wishing on a Star Alzheimer Store Wishing on a Star (suitable for early dementia)Designed for Alzheimer
Flat book for 2-lap reading
Colorful & engaging
Simple text
Familiar images
Created for adult audience
Hard cover
A Day at the Beach- Large print fiction for seniorsA Day at the Beach- 6 chapter bookLarge print
Simple text
Happy memories of beach
No mention of 'dementia' in text
Color photographs
Designed for seniors with dementia

9" X 6" Paperback (small size book)
Not a flat book - not easy for lap reading
Story may be too simple and short
4.5 STARSAmazon Readementia
The Sunshine on My FaceThe Sunshine on My Face- 28 pages (Other books in the series available)Hard cover
Easy to read text
Pleasant themes
Author a clinical psychologist

Does mention 'memory difficulties' in text
Text quite short

4.5 STARSAmazon Readementia

Closing Remarks

reading to dementia patients

Your next visit can take place without distress, thinking about what you will be talking about and wondering how to successfully break the uncomfortable silence if it occurs.

Even if a person won’t accept reading enthusiastically at first, don’t give up right away. Experiment with different literary genres and observe how the person responds.

Reading to a person with dementia is a rewarding experience for both them and yourself. It is simply a way to ensure your loved one is feeling happy, relaxed and connected.

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