Book Recommendations for an Elderly Parent

For many Americans, the transition to retirement offers a chance to imbibe as much information as possible. Yet reading tends to decline as people age. Data from the Pew Research Center found that in 2015, 69 percent of seniors reported having read at least one book in the past year, compared to 80 percent of people ages 18-29 years old. Finding the right book can be a challenge, especially for seniors who have not read in a while. Check out our roundup of the best books for seniors.

Easy Reads

Seniors who have taken a long break from reading may need some help when getting back into it. Select easy reads at first. Young adult fiction often tackles complex topics in digestible ways. Books like Lois Lowry’s The Giver are timeless and easy to get into. Some other easy starter novels include:

Anything funny and lighthearted. Check out Hyperbole and a Half for comic strip-style depictions of familiar experiences, or Furiously Happy, which offers a hilarious take on some of life’s biggest miseries. Lewis Grizzard’s many books are funny without being mean, and are especially popular among Southerners.

Revisiting History

Many seniors feel a sense of nostalgia for bygone eras. Help them explore the past from a new perspective with these great picks:

Sometimes a senior’s reading habits depend on their political ideology. Conservative-minded seniors may enjoy Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Series, which starts with Killing Lincoln. Liberals and those who prefer to look at history through a critical lens may enjoy Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.

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Learning Something New

Learning something new can open the door to new worlds. These books offer seniors a chance to explore without ever leaving the house:

Planning for the Future

Contemplating the future can be scary for many seniors. These books take the sting out of the process, and inspire deep philosophical reflection:

Incredible Fiction

Finding the right work of fiction can be tough, because everyone’s seeking something different. These breathtaking works cater to a variety of tastes: 

When selecting books for seniors, consider any cognitive or physical limitations. Many seniors prefer to listen to books on tape, or find large print volumes more enjoyable. Those with advanced dementia may prefer picture books. The goal should be to make reading as fun and accessible as possible. After all, with a little commitment, reading really can be fun for everyone.

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