Keeping the neurons firing is beneficial to help stave off Alzheimers and Dementia. When an elderly person is immersed in a captivating book, it engages the language processing parts of the brain that are hard at work. A really good book can make you feel like the characters and identify even more deeply with the story.
Other examples of cognitive boosting activities include
visiting a library
seeking or processing information
word find puzzles
"While reading may often be thought of as a solitary activity, reading may, in fact, make us more socially aware. Dr. Oatley suggests that readings good books are much like life simulators in that they allow us to imagine ourselves in someone else’s position, to take other people’s perspectives and figure out why certain characters in books behave the way they do, and to consider what would happen if we did the same in our own world. In a way, reading leads to practicing what we encounter in the world, but it is all in our brain, which can be a good challenge for brain health."