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 rachel@marlenabooks.com

About

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Marlena Books provides meaningful leisure and cognitive stimulation in the form of reading to those with Alzheimer's, dementia, or other cognitive disorders. Marlena Books features mature content at an appropriate reading level in order for individuals to continue their love of reading while maintaining their dignity.

We are working hard to allow individuals with limited cognitive abilities to continue reaping the numerous social and mental benefits that reading has to offer. Follow us on social media or check out our blog to stay updated!


 

Our Story

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Rachel is dedicated to her vision of improving the wellbeing of those living with neurodegenerative diseases. Through her own experiences with her grandmothers, she has developed a passion for reintroducing the leisure of reading into the lives of individuals living with dementia. She is an alumna of the University of Waterloo’s Honours Health Studies Program within the Applied Health Sciences program, and has presented at conferences contributing to the field of public health. Rachel is also an alumna of the St. Paul’s GreenHouse social venture incubator program, where she grew Marlena Books from an idea to a business.

Rachel Thompson, CEO and founder of Marlena Books.

Rachel Thompson

Founder

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