Active listening: the key to dealing with dementia

Dave HallByDave Hall

Active listening: the key to dealing with dementia

Person-to-person activities, particularly active listening, are more effective than drugs in reversing depression in people living with dementia. 

That’s one of the findings from a recent national survey and it concords with the view of Louise Morse, a cognitive behavioural therapist. Her Masters’ dissertation examined the effects of caring for a loved one with dementia on close relatives.

As media and external relations officer for CRE National 2021 exhibitor Pilgrims’ Friend Society, Louise helped launch Brain and Soul Boosting for Seniors (BSBS) six years ago. The group resource is invaluable in helping people with dementia through interaction and connection. 

‘It is being used in a range of settings to improve cognition (thinking) and raising self-confidence and spiritual awareness,’ she explained. Developed by Louise and Janet Jacob, a psychogeriatric nurse and care home manager, BSBS is made up of sessions focusing on themes such as celebration and holidays. The sessions encourage participants to connect with their own memories and experiences and create new friendship and memories with their group.

‘Groups are being led by pastoral leaders in churches, outreach workers in sheltered housing, hospital settings, and in private homes with couples,’ she continued. ‘Seeing the difference to patients, one psychiatrist came into the day room to see what was going on!’ 

Janet Jacob, who led the groups in a Pilgrims’ Friend Society independent housing scheme for three years, said: ‘It was so satisfying to see self-confidence returning as people listened to one another. It encouraged them to keep contributing and friendships were formed. People said: ‘I’m not as bad as I thought I was!”’

Pilgrims’ Friend Society has a range of resources which support those ministering to people growing older and facing related issues, whether physical, mental, or spiritual. Louise is leading a seminar about Brain and Soul Boosting for Seniors at CRE National 2021 on (11am, Wed 13 Oct).

• Pilgrims’ Friend Society are stand T7 at CRE National 2021

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Dave Hall

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