Norma LOVES Books, and Here's Why!

April 27, 2020

With a smile on her face and a glint in her eye, Norma, a resident at Mayflower Reservoir looks up and says, “if I have my head in a book, don’t talk to me, I won’t hear you.”

Norma Low Res

Norma really does love to tuck in to a great book, and finds it so beneficial for her mind and emotional health.

At Mayflower Reservoir there is a library of books in the sitting room, with a wide range of topics covering both fiction and non-fiction. There’s nothing Norma loves more than to wander the aisle of books searching for her next literary delight. In fact, Norma reads so many books in our library that there are now more books that she has read, than there are left for her to discover.

Glancing up from her current read “Last Chance Country” by Jennie Jones, Norma explains there is something special about reading a physical book, compared to reading a digital display.

“I like the feel of the paper and weight of the book in my hand,” says Norma.

Norma looks forward to visits to Mayflower by Darebin Library every 6 weeks, bringing with them, a tailored selection of books for her to read. The staff from the library compliment Mayflower’s approach to person centred care. They get to know each resident well and gain an understanding of their interests, so they can hand pick the crème of the book crop, just for them.

It isn’t unusual for Norma to have three books on the go at once.

“I just love my books,” she says, “and I always have.”

Norma moved into one of Mayflower Reservoir’s independent living units around four years ago, and quickly found her place in the close knit community. Unfortunately changes in her health meant Norma had to make the difficult decision to move closer to her family and she briefly lived in an aged care home closer to them.

However, Norma missed the homely atmosphere and warm culture of Mayflower Reservoir and returned, this time into the aged care facility, shortly after, and she’s never looked back.

“I love it here at Mayflower,” says Norma, “I love my room. I can sit and read here all day and feel at peace.”

A calming sense of peace is often the side effect of reading a good book. The practice of using books, poetry and other written words as a means of gentle therapy has been used for centuries.

Reading is a uniquely powerful way to help develop a higher level of emotional intelligence, develop creative thinking and gain a deeper understanding of the way people work and think. It also sharpens your memory and knowledge base, by exposing you to a wide assortment of characters, their unique backgrounds, ambitions, and nuances.

All these little details need to be stored or remembered to understand the plots and sub-plots that make their way through each story, which gives your brain a good workout. Every memory you form, creates a physical pathway or synapse in your brain and helps strengthen existing ones. The benefit of this? Better short-term memory abilities and a more peaceful and relaxed mind resulting in better moods.

Reseach has also shown that the context of the book can make a significant physical and mental impact on us. For example, reading a spiritual text can help lower a reader’s blood pressure and bring about a sense of tranquillity, while an exciting thriller can bring about a heightened mood.

There are so many more benefits to reading, it’s time we all took a page out of Norma’s book and sat down with a good novel. Happy reading, everyone!