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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Picture cards help families chat to elderly and those with dementia

Activities directors, other healthcare professionals and caregivers, here is something from Times Online that might interest you

Melanie Reid

The simplest of inventions, dreamt up at a kitchen table, is helping to transform communication between elderly people and their carers and families.

Sets of large cards, carrying pictures of well-known scenes and objects from the 1940s, are being used to stimulate old people and those with dementia and to support conversations between the generations.

“Reminiscence tea parties” are being organised at which the cards are used as a tool to draw the elderly out of their shells and to get them talking about their lives — and carers are reporting increased wellbeing as a result.

In the six months since the cards were launched they have sold out two print runs and have been eagerly adopted by volunteers and in care homes across the UK. Another series of cards, featuring the 1950s, is to be launched within the next month

The cards are the brainchild of Sarah Reed, a trustee with the charity Contact the Elderly. Through her volunteering, she saw carers and families struggling to find things to talk about with the elderly or those with dementia.

“My mother has dementia, and I understood how difficult it could be to make conversation with her. But also, through my work with Contact the Elderly, we saw younger people in particular who clearly wanted to have a relationship with older people but didn’t know where to begin.

“Even with families, it’s difficult. People go into care homes to visit loved ones but don’t know how to start a conversation. They struggle to get going.

“The cards give everyone somewhere to go: they allow old people to......read the whole article

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