Why do people with dementia need special books?

When people develop dementia, they gradually lose the ability to understand and enjoy traditional books, magazines and newspapers. These become too complex and confusing because of their complicated layouts and large amounts of small print. 

However, people with even late stage dementia are still able to enjoy beautiful pictures and short texts presented in a clear way. Find out more....

How do your books help someone with dementia?

When someone has dementia they find it difficult to understand the world and to communicate with family, friends and carers. Pictures to Share books help prompt meaningful conversation about a wide range of subjects, but can also be enjoyed even when the person with dementia is no longer able to talk. 

Using the books can improve mood, relieve depression and calm agitation, providing an opportunity to enjoy shared time together with friends, family or carers.

What should I expect when using your books with someone with dementia?

Using the books should help to make the person with dementia calm and relaxed. They should enjoy the experience and feel happier. The person may read the words (even when family believe they can no longer read); they may smile and laugh at the images; a picture may prompt a conversation about something from the past; some people may stroke the page or trace the lines with their finger; or talk to the person in the picture (even when they cannot talk to the people around them); some people may think they recognize people or places in the picture.

Will the books help with difficult behavior?

By providing a distraction and by offering the person with dementia a calming, easy and enjoyable activity, the books can help carers to deal with agitation or distressed behavior.

Can the books be used as an activity?

In care homes or day centres the books are often used with groups in reminiscence activities and also in reading or book groups. The pictures can be used to prompt group discussions and the text includes songs or poetry that can be read aloud.

Can the person with dementia use the books on their own?

One great benefit of our books is that the person with dementia can use them on their own. Some people even enjoy just holding the books.

Will the books benefit people in a care home or hospital setting?

The books are ideal to have in both care homes and hospitals. When people with dementia are admitted to hospital they are often confused and agitated. The books are ideal to use to help calm people down. They also allow nursing staff to get to know something about their patients with dementia who may have severe communication difficulties. The books also provide something for visitors to do with their relative or friend, so making visits more enjoyable.

What research have you done to back up what you do?

Since 2005 Pictures to Share have been carrying out a range of research into the use of pictures with people with mid to late stage dementia.

Other informal research has been carried out independently by Oxfordshire libraries.

We collect customer feedback from family members, care homes, day centres and hospitals.  

In 2011-12 we carried out research using all of our products with a hospital in Limerick, Ireland.