Promoting communication and wellbeing for people with dementia through Sonas


Vol VII n.32

Promoting communication and wellbeing for people with dementia through Sonas

A group in Manchester uses an approach called Sonas to help people with dementia to express themselves. Danny Ratnaike reports on how activity may help communication.
Alison Williams, a speech and language therapist, says,
‘If someone is struggling with an aspect of communication, they shouldn’t be made to feel it’s their problem.’
‘Communication is always a partnership, a joint understanding of what’s being said.’
Alison co-founded a group in south Manchester nine years ago that provides a weekly opportunity for people with dementia to connect and express themselves.
Sonas group in south ManchesterHelen Day-Mayer, whose mother Jacqueline attended for three years, says,
‘The sessions made me aware that while Mum’s speech had largely gone, there were plenty of other ways to communicate with her by using her other senses much more.’

Alison leads a speech and language therapy team at Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust and set the group up with Admiral Nurse Loraine Butterworth. They chose an approach called Sonas – Irish Gaelic for ‘wellbeing’ – that uses a range of structured, multisensory activities.
Loraine says,
‘The regular format helps people to recognise and become familiar with the group, which is very helpful for people with short-term memory loss.
‘The short bursts of varied activities mean it’s OK if one thing doesn’t suit somebody, as you quickly move on.’
People with dementia may experience difficulties in finding words, understanding others or recognising objects, which can discourage valuable social interaction.
Alison says,
‘Sonas provides a tool that can be used for anyone at any stage of dementia. Our community group is for people who are quite well living at home, usually with a carer.’
Regular format

Kristy Stott, Speech and Language Therapy Assistant, has led the sessions for over five years. Each lasts two hours, extended from the more usual 45-minute Sonas session to be worthwhile for everyone travelling specially.
Activities use music, inflatable balls, things to smell and touch, proverbs to complete – anything that stimulates senses and memories. The session runs along to a CD, with a regular voice and signature tune providing a familiar structure.
Kristy says this means she can focus on individual attendees.
‘I don’t have to worry about the format, I can make sure everybody is involved and not left out.’
Pauline Snowden’s husband had Alzheimer’s and used to attend, and after he died four years ago she was taken on by the trust as a volunteer to help with the group.
She says,
‘Ray loved it – he was a referee until the age of 72 and always active. They have a soft ball they play football with, chair exercises and of course they sing.’
Loraine says,
‘One lady with very advanced dementia struggled to engage with her surroundings. After attending, she began to join in with some of the exercises and singing. She would be animated and began to make friends.’
Sonas group in south Manchester

Joy and happiness

Helen, whose mother was a headteacher and had mixed dementia, says,
‘It gave me ideas to follow up with at home in terms of sensory games and resources to use.
‘I also realised that making eye contact with Mum before I spoke to her made a huge difference to her comprehension.’
Helen stayed during the sessions at first, but soon felt able to spend the time doing things herself and sharing with other carers.
‘It was two hours where I could come up for air.’
Annabel Green, an Assistant Psychologist, took part in the group for a month before beginning work to gauge its impact.
She says,
‘You can just see the joy and happiness that people get from it – the big smiles on their faces, very warm and welcoming environment, and great rapport between the people with dementia and with staff.
‘The first time I went it really surprised me. One person came in without looking at anybody, but by the end he was shaking my hand and smiling.’
More mindful

Loraine says,
‘Finding ways to promote communication is very beneficial for maintaining relationships between the person with dementia and their family, as well as for the person’s wellbeing.’
Of course this can become difficult as dementia progresses. Pauline says,
‘I’ve done it myself. I used to say things to Ray and he’d look at me. I’d raise my voice but he wasn’t deaf, he just couldn’t understand the question.’
Kristy says,
‘If you need advice you could be referred to a speech and language therapist, or speak to the local Alzheimer’s Society.
‘Everyone should be made to feel valued, and not feel they have to withdraw from activities. It means being more mindful, more patient.’


Aula multisensoriale

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Vol VII n.25

In questi filmati alcuni spunti per realizzare un’aula multisensoriale….. dispositivi vibranti sulle varie superfici. Un buon inizio per pensare progettare un ambiente musicale di musica recettiva.

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per info dettagliate contattare gli autori dei video:GO SOUND Torino Via Cavalli 22 10138 Torino
Canali YouTube/Facebook: GOSOUNDTORINO

Spartiti trascritti in braille per giovani ciechi che studiano musica


L’Unione nazionale italiana volontari pro ciechi di Bologna ha attivato il servizio “Ottavio Orioli”, un modo per dare consulenza e supporto ai giovani ciechi che studiano musica. Come funziona? Basta contattare la sede Univoc per chiedere, d’accordo con il proprio maestro, un parere sui testi da studiare, quali brani eseguire per raggiungere il proprio scopo e dove reperirli in braille. Solo dopo le indicazioni ricevute, e nel caso in cui si accerti la mancanza di brani ad hoc, si può richiederne la trascrizione in braille. A questo penseranno 10 persone sparse in tutta Italia che attraverso un software apposito completeranno la traduzione. 

Per richiedere un supporto si può andare sul sito

Fonte: Redattore sociale

Vi lascio un segno della mia esistenza

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Vol VII n.2

L’arte a sostegno del malato Alzheimer  di Chiara Salza
Ogni volta che mia madre, ormai anziana, non riesce a completare un cruciverba mi chiede aiuto affermando: “Tanto tu sai sempre dove andare a cercare la risposta se non la sai”! La curiosità è una caratteristica che mi ha sempre contraddistinto e che ancora oggi, fedele compagna, non demorde e mi sostiene nella mia attività professionale…  Terminata, nel 1997, la Scuola di Formazione nelle Artiterapie, avevo molto chiaro che la strada da fare, per potermi considerare un’arteterapista, era ancora molta. Quello che poteva sembrare un limite della scuola si è rivelato, col tempo, essere un pregio: instillare in me la certezza di non essere mai arrivata, e spingermi sempre più in là. E’ con questa predisposizione che nel 2003 vengo a conoscenza del CDT di Como (Centro Donatori del Tempo). Un’associazione che dal 1992 si occupa di sostenere il malato d’Alzheimer e i suoi familiari, comunicando informazioni sui loro diritti, sulla rete dei servizi offerti dal territorio comasco e organizza laboratori di stimolazione cognitiva attraverso diversi percorsi. L’arteterapia dal 2004 si affianca a queste iniziative e, attraverso il mio atelier, vengo a contatto per la prima volta con la realtà della malattia d’Alzheimer.

Per legere tutto l’articolo

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Vol VI n.70

Help Spread the Music—and Give New Life to Someone You Love

No one wants to end up alone and isolated in a nursing home. It’s hard enough to lose someone you love to Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. It’s terrifying to think you could end up there yourself, someday.
But there’s reason to hope for a better life as we age. At Music & Memory, we help elders in care facilities suffering from a wide range of cognitive and physical challenges find renewed meaning and connection in their lives through the gift of personalized music.

Beloved Music Can Renew Lives Lost to Dementia

Our approach is simple, elegant and effective: We train elder care professionals how to set up personalized music playlists, delivered on iPods and other digital devices, for those in their care. These musical favorites tap deep memories not lost to dementia and can bring residents and clients back to life, enabling them to feel like themselves again, to converse, socialize and stay present.
Music & Memory’s work is rooted in extensive neuroscience research. The results can be nothing short of miraculous.
Meet Henry, who suffered from dementia for a decade and barely said a word to anyone—until Music & Memory set up an iPod program at his nursing home:

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The Therapeutic Benefits of Personalized Music

Henry’s remarkable re-awakening is not unique. In more than 140 Certified Music & Memory Care Facilities throughout the U.S. and Canada, we’ve helped thousands of residents struggling from dementia and other chronic cognitive and physical impairments reconnect with family, friends and caregivers through our personalized digital music program.

Our ongoing research and evaluation of Music & Memory’s work in elder care facilities shows consistent results:

  • Residents are happier and more social.
  • Relationships among staff, residents and family deepen.
  • Everyone benefits from a calmer, more supportive social environment.
  • Staff regain valuable time previously lost to behavior management issues.
  • There is growing evidence that a personalized music program gives professionals one more tool in their effort to reduce reliance on anti-psychotic medications.
Help Us Reach More People Like Henry

Our goal is to make this miraculous form of personalized therapeutic music the gold standard in elder care facilities throughout the U.S. and beyond—and train family caregivers to bring personalized digital music to their loved ones at home.

There are millions like Henry struggling to escape the isolation of dementia. Please help them feel alive again through Music & Memory.