About Us

Engaging Dementia is a registered charity that provides training and resources for those who care for people with dementia in residential care, day centres, hospitals or the family home. Our training services are primarily for the staff of nursing homes, day centres and hospitals. Our resources are suitable for both formal and informal carers. We are involved in a range of community-based initiatives focused on supporting communication and engagement for people with dementia.

Mary Threadgold RSC, Creator of the Sonas Programme

Engagement is at the heart of what we do – we believe in and promote the value of engagement through communication, music, the senses, the creative arts and the outdoors.  Engaging Dementia continually explores new ways to support care centres to provide high quality dementia care, and to support family carers, in order to enhance quality of life for people living with dementia.

We were founded in 1990 by Sr Mary Threadgold RSC under the name Sonas aPc. Sr Mary, a Speech and Language Therapist, developed a therapeutic activity for people, which she called the Sonas Programme. She established an organisation which she called Sonas aPc to train people in the delivery of the Sonas Programme.

In 2018 we changed our name to Engaging Dementia. We continue to train care staff in Ireland and The United Kingdom (UK) in the Sonas Programme. Research has confirmed the benefits of the programme for people with dementia.

We offer a wide range of dementia training, all focused on communication, engagement and supporting person centred dementia care. We also provide consultancy services to nursing homes to support them to deliver individualised activities programmes to their residents and educate their staff teams on best quality dementia care. We work with TrinityHaus Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin, and Newtown Saunders Ltd on dementia friendly garden projects.

As the Dementia Friendly Garden (DFG) Team, our three organisations provide a comprehensive consultancy service to nursing homes on the creation of dementia friendly outdoor spaces and have designed and built two award-winning dementia gardens at the Bloom Festival in 2017 and 2018. The first garden was moved to TLC Care Centre, Santry, after the festival, as TLC Care Centre had been the sponsor. The second dementia garden, entitled Moments in Time was sponsored by the national Dementia Understand Together Campaign. It was moved to Arklow, where it is open to the public.

Our other work includes running the biggest annual international dementia conference in Ireland, in partnership with the School of Nursing and Human Sciences in Dublin City University. We are also centrally involved in Alzheimer Cafes in Ireland.

We are committed to continuing to expand our range of services and supports in order to respond to the needs of people living with dementia and their carers.

Our Vision

An inclusive society where people living with dementia and their care partners are actively engaged members of the community where they live.

Our Mission

To improve communication, engagement and connection for people living with dementia and their care partners through education, resources and community activities.

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