Sara Hinson

Sara Hinson

Avid Readers Unite! How to Start a Book Club in Senior Living

Are you one of those people who starts at the end of a book, or who puts off the final few pages because you don’t want it to end? Whether you prefer a dreamy love story or an edge-of-your-seat thriller, you’re already part of a huge club. Amid all of today’s entertainment options, reading remains a popular pastime. Not only is spending time with a book a relaxing and enjoyable hobby, it’s also good for mental well-being and has been shown to improve overall brain function and memory

It comes as no surprise then that coupling reading with social interaction, such as joining a book club, can be a positive double whammy. Starting and participating in a literature-focused club allows members to more deeply understand the books they read and see viewpoints they might not have otherwise considered. These activities can also benefit cognitive health.

But some avid readers interested in starting a book club at their senior living community may not know where to begin. There are numerous factors to consider, from finding members to selecting titles that will interest everyone. We have some useful tips to help you get to reading and socializing! in no time.

4 Tips for Starting a Book Club at Your Senior Living Community

  1. Identify potential members. If you haven’t yet mentioned your idea to others, do so now. Start with those who tell you what they’ve been reading, and have them ask their fellow book lovers as well. Word-of-mouth is a great way to get a club started. Also, reach out to casual acquaintances. Socializing over a shared interest can help your friendship grow.  
  1. Decide where to meet. COVID-19 guidelines may mean that a book club get-together can only be held outdoors (or online) for now. When it’s safe to do so, consider meeting in a community event space or at a nearby restaurant. If you prefer to hold meetings at a member’s home, rotate locations each month so hosting duties don’t fall on one person.
  1. Decide when to meet. Meeting frequency depends on members’ availability and reading speed, but a good starting point is once a month. Meeting on the same day each month, such as the third Thursday or the second Saturday, helps reduce confusion and ensure maximum attendance. 
  1. How to choose a book. Deciding which titles to read can be a challenge. To narrow the choices, some clubs limit their selections to one genre—for example, biographies or historical fiction. Some books make for better conversation than others, and many, especially contemporary fiction, include book club guide editions to assist you in leading discussions. If you’re still short on ideas, check out Oprah’s Book Club, Reese’s Book Club or Amazon’s Book Club for picks.

Starting a Book Club Can Be Fun & Easy for Seniors

Although it takes a bit of effort up front, starting a book club doesn’t have to be difficult. With a bit of planning and direction, you’ll attract members who will help you get it off the ground. Then, you’ll not only get to read new books, you also get to make new friends at your senior living community. The next time you see someone paging through a book at Cumberland Village or checking out the books at the Cumberland library, ask them what they think about the idea. That may be all it takes to turn the page on a new hobby.