Living Words works with individuals who have dementia. Once a relationship is established through active listening, every word spoken is written and recorded. These words are then sculpted in to poems before being put in to individual books.
The Living Words Word Books are kept with each person and can help further bond the person with their carer and help a relative see the identity of their loved one; who they are now. We work with carers and family members on how to use the Living Words’ word book as a communication bridge.
Living Words residencies are now a five-stage programme:
1) Working one-to-one with individuals experiencing a dementia to create their own Living Words Word Books. This is the main part of the programme.
2) Working one-to-one with staff. In the same way that we work with residents we work with a small number of staff, so that they experience what the residents have been experiencing. We strongly support carers in our work.
3) Every participant receives their own Living Words Word Book. They are given out and read with individuals. We hold staff workshops, looking at the words participants have spoken and how these words might affect daily practice; we look at how to use the books as a communication bridge.
4) Staff commit to a ‘project’. This aims to embed the books and communication techniques from the workshop.
5) A sharing event is held. Staff, residents and relatives come together. Words and poems are shared, staff read and talk about using the books and they receive certificates.