A Literature-Based Intervention for Older People Living with Dementia

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Billington J, Carroll J, Davis P, Healey C, Kinderman P

Year of Publication:

University of Liverpol

Publication Type:


This report addresses the impact and effect that a specific literature-based intervention called “Get Into Reading”, designed and practised by The Reader Organisation, might have on the health and wellbeing of people living with dementia.

The research was conducted by the Centre for Research into Reading, Information and Linguistic Systems (CRILS)at the University of Liverpool and assesses to what extent the shared reading intervention impacted upon behaviours symptomatic of dementia. Its aims are:
• to understand the influence that reading has on older adults with dementia in different healthcare environments
• to identify staff perceptions of the influence that engagement in a reading group has on older adults living with dementia
• to investigate any changes in dementia symptoms of older adults participating in a reading group, with specific relation to statistical analysis

61 service users and 20 staff members were involved with the project, either by attending and engaging in a group and/or by being interviewed by the researcher. 87 sessions were conducted in total. The shared reading intervention took place in 3 care homes, 1 day centre and 2 hospitals.

Mixed methodology was used to evaluate the reading groups. The Neuropsychiatric Inventory brief questionnaire (NPI-Q) assessed staff views of any changes in dementia symptom severity for the participants who attended the reading groups. Qualitative interviews were conducted with some staff members who either participated in the groups themselves or had extensive knowledge of the service users who participated. Informal discussions with some service users were also conducted after a reading session to identify their views of engaging with a reading activity.

The study found that engagement in reading-group activity produced significant reduction in dementia symptom severity, and was experienced as a positive activity across all settings. Further research is recommended, to include a larger sample size, randomised control trials and comparisons with other activities such as newspapers, self-help books, music.

Evidence Type: Qualitative Research

Main Focus: Wellbeing / Quality of life

Research Purpose: Outcome Evaluation

Context: Community

Participant Group: Older Adults

Art Forms: Literature

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Billington J., Carroll J., Davis P., Healey C., Kinderman P. (2013). A Literature-Based Intervention for Older People Living with Dementia. Liverpool: Centre for Research into Reading, Information and Linguistic Systems, University of Liverpool.