• We're currently experiencing technical issues with our newsletter software, so our Dementia Talking Point monthly updates have been put on hold for now. We hope to restart the newsletter soon.

    Find out more >here<.

Reading

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
701
A positive story, i think, interested if anyone has found the same.

Mummy lives permanently in a care home and has mid to late stage mixed dementia. She has to be hoisted as she can't walk or transfer. On Donepezil and Mermantine among other things. She gets very ASBO about personal care, so we've been looking at various ways to combat this, including pain relief, drugs etc

I think some of the agitation is because she is bored. They have activities, but she was a clever, active woman, very determined. I realised, when I took her to hospital once, that she still had limited ability to read - signs and simple sentences in large print, I was amazed as I assumed she had lost this skill.

We are a very "booky" family, so I am trying taking in "simple" books, with short passages of text (poems, books for children) that we read together. Some days this works better than others, but a book on bird identification was a bit hit. I worried that she would realise they were children's books, and be upset, but this hasn't been an issue so far.
I am also trying books with ryhme or repetition - like nonsense verse or Dr Seuss as she likes the sound of words. Some days are better than others but we will see how we go. Her psychiatrist also recommended comedy DVDs of the "slapstick" type - easy to follow and Mummy finds this kind of physical comedy - people tripping over etc very funny (sometimes rather unfortunately).
I will try to update as to how this works out.....
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,131
Scotland
I empathise. John and I shared a love of books although often with different choices. He lost the ability to process info so could not remember from one page to the other what page he had read. I began to give him magazines with lots of pictures and bought tabloids (hate them with a deep loathing) because they are simplistic and have large lettering and lots of pictures.

This worked right up until he died 3 months ago. He was reading out of habit rather than understanding and it gave him a sense of normality as far as I could see.
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
701
That is interesting Marion - I do take in recipe magazines sometimes as well. We also hate tabloids - I swear they do a deal with CHs where all residents get a copy of the Daily Mail regardless of what paper they ask for....
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,370
South coast
I used to read poetry to mum. She had a Golden Treasury of Poems and she was of the age where she had learned poetry off by heart in school and she could still remember a lot of them if I started her off and we would say them together - me reading and mum reciting. We both got a lot of pleasure in that.
swear they do a deal with CHs where all residents get a copy of the Daily Mail regardless of what paper they ask for....
 

Kay111

Registered User
Sep 19, 2019
201
I used to read poetry to mum. She had a Golden Treasury of Poems and she was of the age where she had learned poetry off by heart in school and she could still remember a lot of them if I started her off and we would say them together - me reading and mum reciting. We both got a lot of pleasure in that.

This is such a lovely image! I'm so pleased that you and your mum had this.

(I read a Philip Larkin poem about getting old last week and it was so on-the-nose and close to home now that I'm caring for dad, that there was rather a lot of dust in my eye....AVOID LARKIN. :rolleyes:)
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
701
Mummy likes the lines
"I grow old, I grow old
And I will wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled"
I think it's from T.S Elliot - she loves rolling her trousers anyway! The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear is also popular and the Jaggwerwoky (or whatever its called). It doesn't matter that the words are nonsense, she loves the sound of them.
There's also quite a famous poem Larkin wrote about "your Mum and Dad" - rather rude so I can't quote it here but my sister and I repeat it in moments of stress....
 

Dimpsy

Registered User
Sep 2, 2019
1,427
I used to read poetry to mum. She had a Golden Treasury of Poems and she was of the age where she had learned poetry off by heart in school and she could still remember a lot of them if I started her off and we would say them together - me reading and mum reciting. We both got a lot of pleasure in that.

My mum is just the same, there is something to be said about learning parrot fashion; mum remembers poetry like your mum; give her a line and off she goes, or something will jolt her memory; it was Yeats the other day. I googled the words and sure enough found the poet. The same with hymns, they are buried deep in her memory and she never needs a hymn book.

She puts me to shame really, my one and only poem from schooldays that I remember is Hardy's 'This is the weather the cuckoo likes'.

I still don't understand this dementia thing, remembering poetry/hymns but not what happened yesterday. I know @canary, you mentioned before the difference between events and experience after I couldn't understand how mum has learnt the way home.
The latest thing she remembers is TV's 'Bargain Hunt' which we usually see the end of before lunch with the news, and at the end of the programme, everyone kicks a leg up - which we have to do as well - and then we eat.
It's a mystery to me!
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,370
South coast
I still don't understand this dementia thing, remembering poetry/hymns but not what happened yesterday.
Different types of memory are stored all over the brain in different places. Its still gets to me when people who have lost speech can still sing songs that they remember from their youth - word perfect!
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
701
I agree with @canary I think it is different types and ages of memory and also things associated with rote learning - Mummy learned lines of Shakespeare for plays, stay with her. She also (sometimes unfortunately) retains a vague memory of things associated with emotion. Something upset her - she can't tell me what but it upset her....
We read Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are" today. I am sure there will be a range of views about using children's books, but the text is large and clear so some of it she can read. She also likes the ideas of the wild things with their "gnashing teeth" and the beautiful illustrations. We have to stop and start as she loses concentration very easily but she does still enjoy reading.
I also think, with children's books, theres a rythmn to them which is soothing and they can be a reminder of happier times. Mostly I read to her, but sometimes she reads aloud too.
 

Dimpsy

Registered User
Sep 2, 2019
1,427
I agree with @canary I think it is different types and ages of memory and also things associated with rote learning - Mummy learned lines of Shakespeare for plays, stay with her. She also (sometimes unfortunately) retains a vague memory of things associated with emotion. Something upset her - she can't tell me what but it upset her....
We read Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are" today. I am sure there will be a range of views about using children's books, but the text is large and clear so some of it she can read. She also likes the ideas of the wild things with their "gnashing teeth" and the beautiful illustrations. We have to stop and start as she loses concentration very easily but she does still enjoy reading.
I also think, with children's books, theres a rythmn to them which is soothing and they can be a reminder of happier times. Mostly I read to her, but sometimes she reads aloud too.
Hello @Helly68, there shouldn't be any opinion or snobbery about reading other than getting enjoyment from words /illustration's.
Be it fiction or non, board books, junior, teen, graphic, comic, magazine, audio or the label on the marmalade jar!
It's brilliant that your mum can take pleasure from a book and long may it continue.
Best wishes from an ex-library worker and passionate reader, in whatever form!
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
701
Thanks Bryan and Dimpsy - I was worried people would think I was trying to infantilise her - indeed when we bought the books my Dad worried that she wouldn't like the fact that they were children's books - I think sadly she has passed that, and anyway gets enjoyment from them.

Using the "Tellytubbie" type idea, I also bought Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss (I am the librarian child of librarians - classic lit for me!) as this has lots of repetition and a bit of silliness which I think appeals to adults and children alike.
Sadly, with dementia there an awful lot of "I would not like it ever again" as Dr Seuss himself would say..
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,370
South coast
Try reading books that she might have read as a child - Alice in wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, Wind in the Willows and the Dr Doolittle books were mums favourites, although with time she couldnt concentrate on them long enough.
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
701
Try reading books that she might have read as a child - Alice in wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, Wind in the Willows and the Dr Doolittle books were mums favourites, although with time she couldnt concentrate on them long enough.
I am trying this too. Found an ancient copy of "Lambs Tales of Shakespeare" in a vintage shop.
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
701
Gosh thats a Blast from the Past! I was given that as a child as a present from an aunt of mine.
Yes, it must be pretty old, but I remember her talking about it. Not much reaction so far, but we will see.
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,854
Chester
I hadn't thought to try books from childhood but think children's books - with pictures might be a good idea for mum once she is over current illness.

I had thought of this a few years ago, and she wasn't ready, but I think she'd enjoy them now.

She can read what I write on white board, but slowly and sounding it all out. She always enjoyed reading the kids books when they were little and would grab DAvid Walliams books to read, but think this will be too long for her now.
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
701
What I found is, if the text is
I hadn't thought to try books from childhood but think children's books - with pictures might be a good idea for mum once she is over current illness.

I had thought of this a few years ago, and she wasn't ready, but I think she'd enjoy them now.

She can read what I write on white board, but slowly and sounding it all out. She always enjoyed reading the kids books when they were little and would grab DAvid Walliams books to read, but think this will be too long for her now.
What I find, if the text is large enough, and simple, Mummy can read it for short periods on a good day. I think this helps to stimulate her and may mitigate some ASBO behaviour - I think shes a bit bored.
It also helps if they remember the books they read to you - we did a lot of that, as some phrases are still there so she doesnt have to read them she may actually remember them - less likely now but you never know. She really likes pictures and non-fiction books on a topic of interest - birds, travel whatever can also work well. Dorling Kindersley do lovely quality reference type books on a whole range of subjects.
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
701
I would say, have a look in the children's reference section of a library, Dorling Kindersley publish lots of reference type books - animals, science, maps etc Lots of pictures and some text. Start with an interest she has.

If you are unsure, try borrowing children's books from the library. I choose classic titles, because we remember these - so Dr Seuss - Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham if she likes humour and ryhme. If you had books you enjoyed as a child, this may be a way in as she may remember reading them with you.
We also had success with the nonsense verse of Edward Lear - again a bit old fashioned but the nonsense element works well as she just likes the sounds of the words, they don't have to mean anything.
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,854
Chester
It depends on where you're mum is at.

I was going to suggest libraries - ask at the counter and they might be helpful, they get older men getting books out for grandchildren

I've noticed my son still has horrible science on his shelf so might try that and also horrible histories, I know my mum would have found these really funny once. They are a boy fart level of joke.

My mum always liked gardening so I was thinking a book about gardening for her.

You can preview books on Amazon - just have a look