The 5 Best Books for Seniors and the Benefits of Reading

Woman on patio with magazine and glass of water

Since Read a Book Day is coming up on September 6th, there’s no better time than the present to highlight the benefits of reading – especially for seniors! Research has repeatedly shown that reading is good for both their physical and mental health. Reading can also help seniors explore a world outside of their everyday lives. To help your senior loved one pick the perfect novel, the team at our CCRC in Sussex County has also put together a list of top books for seniors and why they resonate with our residents. Enjoy!

Reading improves mental and physical wellness

Reading stimulates the somatosensory cortex of the brain, which strengthens connections within the brain even several days after completing a book, helps to maintain and improve memory and cognitive function, and may reduce the overall risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in seniors.

Reading a book also helps to lower blood pressure, stress, and heart rate, which are key risk factors in heart disease, heart attack, and cardiac arrest. It can help improve sleep quality and duration and alleviates the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Seniors who read can ignite their imagination, practice and improve empathy, develop sharper problem-solving skills, and bond with others through book clubs and discussions. Reading is an adventure that’s simply good for the soul!

The top #5 books for seniors

Here are some great books for seniors to try. Remember, if vision, mobility, or focus is an issue, you can find large-text books, increase the text size on a lightweight e-reader, or get an audiobook version.

#1 – The Tuesday Night Club by Agatha Christie

She’s the queen of crime, with mysteries that will send a shiver down your spine! This collection of short stories is perfect for stimulating those problem-solving skills in a way that’s thrilling. From Mrs. Marple, the aging detective that uses her life experiences to explore human nature, to the setting in mid-20th century England, these stories are iconic and engaging from the first word.

#2 – The Body by Bill Bryson

A non-fiction book about the human body and the history of medicine, this author takes complex scientific information and turns it into something a layperson can easily understand. It’s a fascinating journey through the human body and our understanding of it, filled with humor, facts, and incredible stories of discovery. Although this is quite a large volume, it’s clearly divided into chapters and general topics for easy reading.

 #3 – Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

Reminisce on times gone by with this witty and delightful novel about a fascinating woman and her incredible life. Once the toast of New York, Ms. Boxfish is a senior with so many stories to tell about the people in her life, the challenges she faced, and the excitement of the advertising industry in the 1930s.

#4 – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber

A short, light, yet wonderful novel, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is all about a man living in his daydreams. Focused on an imaginary life filled with heroics and adventure, escaping from a life that feels mundane and bound in routine. This novel shows the thrill and value of harnessing a powerful imagination in everyday life.

 #5 – The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

A World War 2 novel set in France, this powerful story about love and conflict is focused on a family who must learn to live during an invasion. With a focus on the women left behind when their husbands and sons went to war, this is very different from your typical WW2 tale, and shares the story of two sisters separated by years and life experience trying to survive, find love, and survive.

Bristol Glen is part of United Methodist Communities, a collection of senior living and assisted living communities in New Jersey dedicated to supporting abundant, independent living. We offer many group activities on-site to support the well-being of our residents including fitness classes, movie nights, and of course, avid book clubs.

If you want to find out more about senior living services in Sussex County NJ, then please get in touch today or visit our website at

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