Perthshire care home residents learning French to help tackle dementia

Posted on June 27th, by geoff in Caring Times. Comments Off on Perthshire care home residents learning French to help tackle dementia

Balhousie Ruthven Towers care home in Auchterader has been working with social enterprise Lingo Flamingo to offer French classes to residents in a bid to help delay the symptoms of dementia.

It is believed that speaking multiple languages can delay the onset of dementia by up to five years. The tailored sessions help residents with early forms of dementia to improve communication, cognitive development and inter-personal skills, as well as build their confidence.

Residents at the Perthshire care home have just finished a 10-week French workshop, taking part in a range of activities including music sessions, word association and learned memory techniques.

Ruthven Towers home manager Jozi Stables said the foreign language workshops had been very popular with residents and the benefits had been amazing to see.

“Residents that were quite disengaged at the beginning became fully engaged by the end of the 10-weeks,” said Jozi.

“We have residents that are counting in French and singing the French national anthem. It is fantastic to see how they respond to the activities and the enjoyment they get out of every session.”

Yvonne Manson, Balhousie Care Group dementia consultant, said a recent study highlighted the positive effects of learning a second language, which is said to delay some symptoms of dementia by up to five years.

“Projects such as this are not designed to make residents fluent in a foreign language, but aim to engage resident’s brains, enabling them to enjoy social interaction with other residents and perhaps evoke memories of past trips abroad.”

Balhousie first began working with Lingo Flamingo last year at their Wheatlands care home in Bonnybridge and the success of the partnership has prompted them to introduce it into other homes within the group. The project was also recognised at last year’s Scottish Dementia Awards as a finalist in the ‘Most Innovative Partnership’ category.

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