At Parkland at the Gardens, a literary companionship program is flourishing. The Parkland Reading Companions initiative is connecting residents and boosting their mental wellness.
Launched this year, the program supports residents living with visual impairments and/or memory loss.
Residents Jill and Ginger have formed a lasting friendship since being paired as reading companions. Jill, who lives with Dementia, developed an easy friendship with Ginger, who reads her short stories from Readers Digest.
Hailing from Labrador, Jill enjoys travelling back home as Ginger reads her tales of Newfoundland and Labrador. While Ginger strives to capture the essence of each story by relaying each with the Newfie accent she honed reading children’s stories on CFGB-FM radio in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
The Reading Companions program is greater than sharing and discussing literature, it also about preserves resident’s independence, triggering positive memories and building social connections.
“It’s real when Ginger reads. I feel like I’m in the story. I used to love to read, but three years ago my reading just got worse. Ginger came along and saved me,” said Jill.