Brain Health and Memory Care at the Library

Libraries offer a variety of ways to help maintain healthy cognitive function in their patrons.

Your public library can be one of your greatest allies for preserving cognitive function.

Memory loss and brain health have always been important to monitor and watch out for, but ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue has grown at an alarming rate. The isolation of a global pandemic caused many senior citizens to become isolated from their friends and family. In many cases, this led to depression and apathy, which in turn accelerated the onset of memory loss and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Though the situation has started to improve, it hasn’t been fixed by any means. You might be surprised to learn that your local library is at the forefront of the solution.

How Librarians Help

Sometimes, all you need is someone who will listen to you and empathize with your struggles, but unfortunately, that’s an increasingly rare thing. Librarians are more than just the people running the library—they’re members of the community. As such, they want to interact with their library’s patrons and help them wherever possible. If all that takes is a little bit of empathy, your local librarian will happily oblige.


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Social Spaces in Libraries

Being a caregiver for a parent or loved one suffering from memory loss is mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing. It’s not something you can do on your own in a healthy or sustainable way, but what if you don’t have a support network to rely on? Strange as it may seem, you should try going to your local library.

Libraries offer resources and support groups for caregivers. You can read up on caring for a loved one with memory loss or a similar disorder or consult your peers who have had similar experiences. Though you’re focused on caring for your loved one, you need to focus on caring for yourself as well, and finding your community at the library is the best way to do that.

Resources for Seniors

Public libraries offer plenty of resources for not just caregivers but the people they care for as well. Many seniors suffer from feelings of social isolation or depression as they start to lose their mobility.

Visiting friends and family members is no longer a simple matter of driving themselves to a meeting place; they have to be taken there. As we mentioned above, depression and social isolation have been linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s, so it’s important to keep your loved ones active and socially engaged.

Libraries are the perfect place to do just that. Whether they want to engage mentally with an interesting book or socially with their friends and family, libraries are a great third place to do so for free. They can even work to keep their body in shape by joining a senior exercise group! Libraries are like the living room of an entire community, so there’s never a bad time for you and your loved ones to give it a visit.


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Information and Activities

Libraries are wellsprings of information, and that extends to information on brain health. If you’re trying to learn more about a certain condition, the library is a great place to start reading up. 

You’ll be able to learn how a condition may present in unusual ways, things to look out for, and how to mitigate the condition’s onset and effects. Of course, you should double-check everything you learn with a medical professional, but medical books at the library are nevertheless a great place to start.

There’s also the matter of activities at the library. Studies have shown that some activities that require you to think carefully can mitigate, delay, or even halt the onset of memory loss. Whether you want to read, listen to music, or work on a puzzle, you can do so for free at your local library.

Libraries can accommodate your unique needs as well. For example, if you or a loved one have trouble reading small text, you can speak with a librarian to get set up with a large print book or an e-reader. Libraries are for everyone, so your librarians will make every effort to ensure that you and your family are cared for.

Health Libraries as a Resource

We’ve written about special libraries a few times before, but the topic is especially relevant here. If you’re only able to find surface-level information about caring for a loved one or managing their condition, you may want to visit a health library. Unlike standard libraries, health libraries focus entirely on medical topics. Because they’re much more focused, you can find bits of information you wouldn’t see anywhere else, so they’re worth visiting if you want to learn more about a condition.

If you’d like to learn more about how the library can help you and your loved ones age with grace, check out the stories on our Health and Families feature pages.



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