Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Hearthside Book Club®
Can people with dementia read?
Yes! Reading is a preserved skill in most people with dementia. Staff and family members often react with amazement when they see their loved one reading a Hearthside Book Club® story, as they assumed it wasn’t possible. While it is true that many older adults, including persons with dementia, have visual difficulties, this potential obstacle is overcome in Hearthside Book Club® through the use of very large, bold font. Much research and development went into creating Hearthside Book Club® stories to make them easy to see, understand, and enjoy.
Can’t people with dementia just read a newspaper or other books, such as novels?
There are several features of Hearthside Book Club® stories that make them perfect for older adults living with memory loss. First, Hearthside Book Club® was created through years of research and has been refined to the point of knowing it works at all stages of dementia and with people with varying impairments. Second, Hearthside Book Club® topics have been chosen by older adults in focus groups. So, the topics are likely to be of interest to many people with memory issues. Third, Hearthside Book Club® stories use an evidence-based format and story structure that enables persons with memory loss to succeed. For instance, large, easily-seen text and images are used. In addition, each page stands on its own, so that participants don’t need to remember what has been read on previous pages. Also, discussion and reminiscence questions are built into the story, which allows for a rich conversation between participants.
Does Hearthside Book Club® work with persons with late stage dementia?
We have had success working with persons at all levels of memory loss while using Hearthside Book Club®. Our research has shown that it has positive impacts on all levels of dementia. While people with late stage dementia might take more time to read the stories, and they might not be able to answer all the discussion questions, they still enjoy being part of a reading group.
Using Hearthside Book Club® Stories
Do you provide training on how to facilitate Hearthside Book Club®?
All members receive access to free training videos. If you follow the tips in these videos, we are confident that you will have great success. Sample training videos are available on the Videos Page of this website. If you are looking for further training, we offer a variety of programs through the Hearthstone Training Institute. Visit www.thehearthstoneinstitute.org for more information.
Is Hearthside Book Club meant to be used in assisted living residences? What about nursing homes and other settings?
We have extensively tested Hearthside Book Club® in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day centers, and in people’s private homes. Research has demonstrated that in each of these settings Hearthside Book Club® was highly effective and improved engagement and quality of life in those who used it.
Can Hearthside Book Club® be used in private homes?
Yes! In fact, we have done extensive research on the use of Hearthside Book Club® in a homecare setting. We have found that people living at home thoroughly enjoy reading Hearthside Book Club® stories with their caregivers. Participants remain positively engaged and express an increased amount of pleasure when reading Hearthside Book Club® stories at home. In addition, we are currently developing an app called HOME 4 CARE™ that will include Hearthside Book Club® content. Learn more about this app at www.home4care.org.
How many participants should take part in a Hearthside Book Club® group?
While there is no “perfect” size for a Hearthside Book Club® group, we have found that group sizes from 4-7 often work very well. However, you can certainly work one on one with a person, and some people simply enjoy reading the books privately. Larger groups (10-15 participants) can be done successfully, but it takes a very skilled staff member. With larger groups, you also have to be very careful about making sure participants can hear one another.
Can the stories be used in a one-on-one setting?
Yes! Hearthside Book Club® stories are very effective when used in a one-on-one setting (one staff member and one participant). In fact, in our testing with home health clients, we found the stories to be highly engaging and create increased pleasure when used in this way. Many people even enjoy reading the booklets privately, without any staff involvement. This is a great way for participants to do something enjoyable when staff are busy doing other things.
Which is better, using Hearthside Book Club® stories in a one-on-one or group setting?
There is no “better” in this case. It depends upon your specific situation and the preference of your client(s)/resident(s). If you work in long-term care, group sessions are usually more feasible, but some participants prefer a more intimate setting. If you work at a person’s private home, or are a family caregiver a one-on-one setting is usually more appropriate. However, you can certainly facilitate a small group with other family members. For instance, school age grandchildren might very much enjoy taking part in a family reading group!
You mention "videobooks" on your website. What is a videobook?
A "videobook" displays each page on screen as the book is being read aloud. The videos can be streamed or downloaded for easy access on any device. Videobooks provide a great optional for running a group or one-on-one activity. Videobooks are exclusively available to our Premium Members. You can see a videobook sample on our Video Page.
Purchasing Hearthside Book Club®
How much does Hearthside Book Club® cost?
You can get access to all of the materials for the French Cuisine Hearthside Book Club® story for FREE By Clicking Here. If you like what you see, we have a variety of purchase options. Click Here to Learn More
What purchase options are there for Hearthside Book Club®?
There are two main purchase options: Premium and Basic. If you become a basic member, you receive one book and "Ideas Sheet" per week and have permission to print up to 25 copies of the story. If you become Premium Member, you also receive one book and Ideas Sheet per week, but you have permission to print an unlimited number of copies. In addition, Premium Members have exclusive access to audiobook and "videobook" versions of stories. Click Here to Learn More.
Do you sell hardcopy, printed booklets?
No, we do not sell hard copy, printed booklets. To keep down costs for consumers, we exclusively sell digital downloads (PDFs) of Hearthside Book Club® stories. This allows you to print as many copies as you need for a very reasonable price.
How should I print the booklets? For example, should they be single- or double-sided? Should they be stapled in the upper left corner or as a booklet?
It is very important to print the booklets single-sided, as our research has shown that using double-sided booklets is confusing to persons with memory issues. We find that stapling in the upper left corner works well, as does saddle stitching the booklets.
Should I laminate the booklets?
It is NOT a good idea to laminate the booklets. This will cause the booklets to become too heavy for participants. The pages will also stick together. Just printing on plain paper works fine. Glare is also a problem with lamination. If a booklet is torn or damaged, just reprint the booklet.
What program do I need to open the Hearthside Book Club® files?
To open and print the files, you will need to download and install the free Adobe Acrobat Reader program. It is available here: https://get.adobe.com/reader/
Where can I find out more about Hearthstone Alzheimer Care?
You can visit the Hearthstone’s main website at www.thehearth.org. For information about Hearthstone’s Training Institute, visit www.thehearthstoneinstitute.org.
Do you take suggestions for new story topics?
We are happy to entertain any new ideas that you would like to suggest. Our aim is to provide content that will appeal to as many persons as possible. Please visit our Contact Page to send us your ideas.
Does Hearthstone make other activities?
Hearthstone has created many different evidence-based activities, most of which are exclusively available to organizational partners of the Hearthstone Training Institute. Visit www.thehearthstoneinstitute.org for more information.