Children are Dispelling Loneliness of the Elderly Through the Simple Act of Reading

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
A simple initative started in UK has proved to be a great game changer in fighting the loneliness that the elderly face. 

reading friends logo

Started in 2017, the 'Reading Friends' programme aims to connect and engage with people who are vulnerable and isolated in the country, with an extra focus on people with dementia, vision problems and those requiring carers. They believe that creative and cultural participation makes the highest contribution to an older person's well-being. The project is evidence based, with research showing that reading together helps the elderly to connect with the world once more and also has a positive impact on empathy, cognitive function and well-being, besides reducing the risk of dementia.

Reading Friends recruits children and young adults to read to seniors. The elders choose a book and the young ones come visit them and read to them, often digressing along the way.

young woman reading to an old lady

Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, the project started by the Reading Agency works to not just remove loneliness of its citizens but also develop inter-generation communication, working with schools, colleges and libraries alongside nursing homes and sheltered housing. 

“Loneliness and social isolation is a significant health and wellbeing issue for older people” and “8-10% of people aged 65 and older are often or always lonely, while 12% feel socially isolated.” 
- Reading Friends

Heroes of Kindness:

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Let me know what you think.

  1. Such a great initiative - you get to meet people, learn and feel happier!

  2. Excellent initiative. Many seniors are living alone in India as well. Wonder if such an initiative will be useful here

  3. People can enrich lives with such simple acts of kindness. You don't need to move mountains to make a difference.

  4. Both sides wins! The elderly have company and the young minds can learn not only about compassion but also from the experience of the elderly.

  5. That's a great initiative!

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