A Unique and Versatile Activity for People with Dementia

Hearthside Book Club® is an evidence-based reading and discussion activity designed for people with memory issues. This groundbreaking activity is available as a digital subscription. Members receive 52 downloadable and printable booklets per year (one per week). Members also have access to free training and a variety of other materials, including an "Ideas Sheet" for each story, which enables members to expand upon the activity for a full day of programming. Premium members also have exclusive access to audiobook and "videobook" versions of each story. We are confident that you and your participants will love Hearthside Book Club. Check out our free sample materials now!

We Are All Different!

Some people enjoy gardening, while others have never had an interest in participating in outdoor activities. You might love watching baseball, but I prefer to watch classic movies. Yes, we are all different, so it is important to have a wide variety of reading materials available. The Hearthside Book Club® subscription will provide access to more than 50 different topics over the course of a year, so there is sure to be a topic for everyone! The variety of topics ensures that all your participants will be able to find a book that they enjoy. And if you’re in a home setting, the variety of books will allow your client or loved one to learn about various topics and maybe even find something new they enjoy! Different book topics also allow for specialized and unique activity programming throughout the day.

Seeing is Believing!

It has been said that "If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million." We agree! In our video gallery, you will be able to see Hearthside Book Club® "in action," watch sample training videos, see an excerpt from one of our innovative "videobooks," and even hear from Dr. John Zeisel, President and Co-Founder of Hearthstone Alzheimer Care (the company behind Hearthside Book Club). Watch and see how a Hearthside Book Club reading group can be run and how easy and fun it is for people with dementia to read our books.

A Weekly Digital Book Club

When you become a Hearthside Book Club member, you will receive a weekly email that gives you exclusive access to high-quality content. All members receive the book of the week and an "Ideas Sheet." The Ideas Sheet provides you with innovative ideas for expanding upon the topic of the week so that you can create a full day (or more!) of programming. For example, on the week that you read about Italy, our Ideas Sheet suggests that you create Italian food dishes with your participants, or that you plan a Carnival of Venice and even make masks and costumes. If you become a Premium Member, you will also have exclusive access to audiobook and "videobook" versions of at least one story per month. The audiobooks, which have been recorded by professional voice artists, are great for private use by residents. The "videobooks," which display each page on screen as the book is being read aloud, is a great way to run a group or one-on-one activity. Be sure to access our free sample materials to see what it's all about!

Michael Skrajner
Director of Research & Innovation
Hearthstone Alzheimer Care

Why Was Hearthside Book Club® Created?

by Michael Skrajner

Years ago, I was working at a nursing home where many residents had dementia. One winter day, I saw something that made my heart sink. A staff member sat down next to a resident and proceeded to hand her a children's picture book. The resident was able to read the book, but it seemed inappropriate. That resident was someone’s mother, someone’s grandmother. In fact, I knew the resident—she was a retired accountant. And now she was reading a book that said, “See spot run.” It didn’t seem right. How would I have felt if that was my mother reading a children’s book? Was that any way to treat an adult? I realized that day that there was a need to create a brand new line of reading materials that were simple enough for persons with dementia, but still respected their status as an important person with a rich history. The result was Hearthside Book Club. This specialized reading activity combines adult-appropriate topics and content with simple language. Throughout the stories, there are discussion questions and interesting images, so that participants can share their opinions and learn about one another.

What is Unique About Hearthside Book Club®?

  • The activity is evidence-based, having been developed and tested for over three years in research funded by the National Institute on Aging
  • Each page of the book stands on its own, so there is no need for a person to remember what happened earlier in the story
  • The text in the books is very large, bold sans serif font, so even people with vision deficits can see the text
  • The books are full of interesting facts that everyone is sure to enjoy
  • We make sure the text is written at an appropriate difficulty level—not too easy, not too difficult!
  • To keep things interesting, we use 20 different types of discussion questions, all of which have been shown to be appropriate for people with memory issues
  • The activity is very easy to lead—volunteers with little or no training can be very successful
  • Each page has the right amount of information on it—enough to keep the story interesting, but not too much so as to be confusing
  • Research has shown that the activity improves quality of life and increases pleasure and positive forms of engagement (Learn More)
  • Topics were chosen by conducting focus groups with people with dementia
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