Dementia and socialisation

social structureRecently I heard about this anacronym, H.E.A.R.S. when working with another professional when planining a training day for volunteer suicide grief support group workers. The context for its use was for helping volunteer support workers engage with newly bereaved people, when it can be challenging to communicate at the best of times due to the rawness of grief, and to give the workers an engagement or ‘conversation starter’ tool.


H.E.A.R.S. stands for:

  • Home
  • Education, employment
  • Activities
  • Relatives
  • Socialisation

What struck me was that it is incredibly dementia un-friendly, and highlighted how easy it is to feel inadequate when socialising when a person is living with dementia. The first couple of questions a person usually asks of a stranger is ‘What do you do?’, and ‘Where do you live?’ and as the conversation gets deeper, then you move onto activities, relatives and socialisation, unless you have found something of common interest. If that happens, it can then further highlight the communication disabilities as many of us are no longer able to participate with our professional passions or recreational hobbies.

This conversation tool is very useful, but does highlight the disabilities of dementia… more food for thought, as always!!

The only thing missing in this global conversation is YOUR voice... Thank you.

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