What is Reading is Caring?
Reading is Caring supports people living with dementia and the people who care for them to maintain their existing personal relationships and enjoy their time together by sharing reading. Reading is Caring is delivered through a set of informative, personalised online workshops specifically designed to help people caring for someone living with dementia.
Why attend Reading is Caring workshops?
The online workshops can help you create a regular shared reading practice that is individually designed to be enjoyable, productive and relaxing for the person you care for. It is also a great way for professionals to connect with the people they provide care for and their families.
Reading books and stories together provides stimulation and a personal connection for people living with dementia. It allows them to reflect on their life experiences through memories and emotions evoked by what they are reading and contribute to interactions in a meaningful way.
You can learn more about how we've evaluated Reading is Caring.
How are Reading is Caring workshops delivered?
For safety reasons, workshops are currently delivered online through Zoom. Our friendly workshop leaders share videos to provide context on reading with dementia, facilitate group discussions, offer personalised advice, provide opportunities to practice reading approaches and build storytelling skills. Workshops are delivered as two half-days or a series of four separate hours to small groups or individuals to suit your availability.
What if I haven't used Zoom before?
Our workshop leaders will provide clear instructions on how to use Zoom and participate in advance of the sessions. They'll share their contact information just in case you run into technical difficulties on the day, too.
I've already tried reading with my loved one and it didn't work. How is this different?
Reading is Caring is personalised to you, the person living with dementia and your individual relationship. The reading material that works for one person might not work for someone else, so we'll work together to tailor the reading and sensory materials to your unique circumstances.
Everyone who signs up will receive a Reading is Caring Handbook and Reading Diary in the post. These resources will allow you to use Reading is Caring in a way that works for you. They will also remind you of key tips and tricks for reading to someone living with dementia and help chart your progress.
We will also teach you how to make life story book boxes with the person you care for. This includes learning how to select and tailor reading to enjoy together as well as gathering pictures, objects and other sensory items that suit you and your loved one's interests and experiences.
What if the person I care for didn't read much? What if I don't read often, either?
That's okay! Similar to other activities for people living with dementia – such as Playlists for Life or art therapy, which have been proven to help people who weren't artistic growing up – we've found that Reading is Caring engages people regardless of whether they've ever been keen readers. Trying out something new later in life, like a shared reading experience, is still beneficial, creating time to relax and share a moment together. We'll help you develop skills in reading aloud and build your confidence, so don't worry if you're not an avid reader yourself, either.
When can I attend Reading is Caring workshops?
We have a flexible schedule, can arrange sessions to suit your circumstances and provide support to cover care costs so you can take part. Find out if Reading is Caring is available in your area and how to get involved.
Why are you only delivering workshops in certain areas?
Due to our current level of funding and staff resources, Reading is Caring takes place in one area at a time. We'd love to roll-out workshops across Scotland in the future, so we're fundraising to support the programme.
Can I volunteer for Reading is Caring?
Reading is Caring has been designed for partners, family members, friends and professional carers of people living with dementia in existing caring relationships, so there are no volunteer opportunities.
If you'd like to support Reading is Caring, you can spread the word about the workshops and donate to Scottish Book Trust.