Friends read to Sun City care patients

By Rusty Bradshaw
Independent Newsmedia

For some, especially those with memory issues, reading becomes more difficult, but the activity still helps keep one’s mind active.

In an effort to help some residents in care centers, the Friends of the Sun City Libraries instituted a program in which volunteers read to patients to help keep their minds stimulated. The Book Friends program, which got its start earlier this year, will see some expansion in the fall, according to Friends officials.

Planning for the program began in January when Judy Wannamaker, Friends vice president and Book Buddy chairman, met with fellow Friends board member Charlotte Klose to discuss the possibilities. The pair then met with the three activities coordinators at the Woodmark, 17207 N. Boswell Blvd., to work out details of the program offering its services in the care center’s two memory care programs.

“Now, in June, Book Friends has three readers working with groups of five patients per week,” Tom Everitt, Friends newsletter editor, stated in the June e-publication. “In September, we hope to add two more volunteers.”

In Books Friends’ beginning weeks, Ms. Klose was the lone reader. In her first 30-minute session, she read to one patient who listened silently and attended every subsequent session, according to Mr. Everitt.

“Sadly, a few weeks later, she passed away,” he stated. “This was Charlotte’s introduction to the memory care programs of The Woodmark.”

Friends readers participate in the Woodmark’s Specialized Personalized Attention program designed for later stage memory patients. The Woodmark also offers Monarch Memory Assistance that provides services for persons with early stages of memory loss.

“In the fall, we plan to initiate a slow expansion of our work into Monarch while our already trained volunteers continue reading sessions for the first group,” Mr. Everitt stated.

Anyone interested in volunteering in the Book Friends program is encouraged to contact Ms. Klose through Books Around the Corner, 602-651-2014.

The Friends of the Sun City Libraries Board of Directors will have no meetings during the summer. The next board meeting is scheduled 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 14 in the Maricopa County Library District Bell Branch, 16828 N. 99th Ave.

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