ISSN: 20402457
First published in 2010
3 issues per volume
Volume 6 Issue 1
Cover Date: June 2015
Read-aloud group Bibliotherapy for the elderly: An exploration of cognitive and social transformation
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Authors:  Katrina Genuis 
DOI: 10.1386/jaah.6.1.77_1

Keywords
Bibliotherapy,therapy,elderly,dementia,isolation,cognition,literature,reflection

Abstract
There are increasing societal concerns regarding the lack of resources available to meet the multifaceted needs of the growing elderly population in the western world. In an effort to address the cognitive and social needs of this population, the author received guidance from the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine in initiating a novel form of Bibliotherapy, held weekly at a local respite-care centre. While conventional Bibliotherapy – the use of literature to promote well-being – involves private readings and reflection, the current Bibliotherapy programme involved meeting in a small group setting (from three to twelve individuals), reading aloud various types of literature (poetry, short stories, science articles, cultural fables, newspaper clips and jokes) and reflecting on the readings together. The reflection time included sharing of interpretations, discussing stimulated memories and considering relevant life issues and challenges. In observing this act of reflection, the author noted that otherwise isolated individuals discuss their feelings of loneliness and irrelevance, interact with a group, remember long-lost memories and consider stimulating topics. The dramatic success of this uniquely structured programme demonstrates that read-aloud group Bibliotherapy carried out within care centres for the elderly may have an impactful role in addressing the unmet cognitive and social needs of this population.
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