Named after founder Rachel Thompsons' grandmothers Marilyn and Helena, Marlena Books was created as a tribute to those who love to read but face barriers doing so as a result of their limited cognitive abilities.
After watching Marilyn live with dementia for over 10 years, Thompson was surprised to find that her grandmother could still read. Unfortunately, Marilyn's dementia made reading regular books difficult, but turning to children's books left her feeling undignified and disappointed. Marilyn was not reading at all, even though it had once been one of her favourite activities—a common trend that Thompson found in many individuals with dementia.
At the same time, Rachel's other grandmother Helena was battling breast cancer and her treatments made reading—something she had used to cope with her diagnosis and treatment—increasingly difficult. Helena was facing problems similar to Marilyn's, and Thompson knew she wanted both of her grandmothers to be able to reap the many positive social and cognitive benefits that reading provides.
Drawing inspiration from the strong women in her life, Thompson created Marlena Books—research-based books for those with Alzheimer's, dementia, or other cognitive deficits—in order to allow individuals to continue their love of reading while maintaining their dignity.
Books are able to be read independently or used with friends, family, or support partners. They feature mature, engaging content at appropriate reading levels in order to ensure that readers can navigate throughout the books with ease. The books also include beautiful, abstract artwork prepared by individuals living with dementia in the Kitchener-Waterloo region.
Marlena Books promotes ability and dignity for all individuals, and is committed to providing #ReadingBeyondDementia. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org