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The rhyme and reason of reading to dementia patients

Written by The Reader, 6th October 2010

Following on from Claire's post about TRO in The Times...

There's a piece in Society Guardian today about Katie Clark's work in dementia care homes and the publication of our anthology, A Little, Aloud, which we hope to see in every care home in the UK very soon:

It's really hard when family members have developed dementia. They can't remember the people you're talking about, or even what day it is. You want to go and visit people and have a nice time with them, but what do you talk about? The book is a wonderful resource for sharing something together.

Read it in full here.

If you work in or visit care homes or hospitals, please do buy a copy of A Little, Aloud: it will give you, and the person you care for, some very special moments.

3 thoughts on “The rhyme and reason of reading to dementia patients

Sue Garner-Jones says:

Just read the article, would have liked to see Angie mentioned.

Well done anyway, Angie, it must have been very hard work compiling and editing the book – you’re too self-effacing!

[…] One of the most recent studies exploring exactly what wonders reading can do comes from an incredibly prestigious source – and has unearthed some astonishing and really quite heartening results . Research carried out by Oxford University has found that poetry is not just, as John Keats would put it, a Thing of Beauty, but also acts as a comforter, makes us feel better and significantly shapes our sense of self and identity; all factors which most certainly count for a lot. In particular it’s the poems that come from our childhood and early adulthood – and especially those we’ve read so much that we’ve committed them firmly to memory and can recite them off by heart – that offer the most consolation to us; and in this way and others, they contribute to making us who we are. Remarkable stuff indeed. The findings of the Oxford study have been backed up by very similar research from the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading which is looking into the relationship between poetry and memory and specifically, the ways that people remember poems that are personally significant to them. Head researcher Dr Clare Rathbone has identified that poetry that is so well known it could almost be part of our DNA is strongly centred in our individual ‘reminiscence bumps’ – the memories that each of us can most readily recall. Such memories are ingrained into our very beings, and such findings are testament to the ability of poetry to eke them out; most certainly they support the incredibly vital work The Reader Organisation does reading and sharing poems with dementia patients. […]

Sarah Reed says:

It’s lovely to read aloud to people with dementia.
Many Happy Returns Chatterbox cards about the 40s and 50s work really well, too. The pictures empower the person with dementia, as they choose the subject/s they want to talk about and then the words on the back, spoken aloud, or referred to in natural conversation allow anyone involved, of whatever age or background to BE involved.

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