Sonas Group, Sonas Individual Multisensory (SIMS) and Relaxing Individual Sessions have been designed to facilitate engagement and enjoyment for people with dementia. So how do they work and are they effective? Dr Benedicte Strom carried out a major study to evaluate the effectiveness of the Sonas Group Session. The study involved four nursing homes in Ireland. Her study showed that people who participated in Sonas Group Sessions showed improvements in their communication abilities over time. The study found that Sonas Group Sessions were especially beneficial for people with later dementia.

The research also tested an evaluation tool that had been devised to measure the benefits of participation in Sonas Group Sessions. The new tool was called The Threadgold Communication Tool (TCT).

Download the TCT here

Threadgold Communication Tool (TCT)

The Threadgold Communication Tool (TCT) is based on the evaluation method devised by Sonas Programme founder Mary Threadgold RSC. The TCT is especially useful for people with moderate to severe dementia as most other communication tools are based on verbal skills. A person with later dementia often has lost their verbal communication abilities. While they may still be able to say words, those words can be in jumbled sentences or phrases that are repeated over and over again. It can be difficult for the listener to understand what the person is saying, and a stressful experience for both. However, even when a person has no words at all, they can still communicate non-verbally. Eye contact, laughter, gestures, facial expressions, responsiveness to scents and tapping to the beat of a song can all be signs of positive communication. The Threadgold Communication Tool was formalised and validated as part of a major research project that examined the effectiveness of the Sonas programme.

Read the full research article here

Sensory stimulation for people with dementia: Literature review

Stimulation of the senses is often used with people with dementia. Some approaches use stimulating of a few senses. Others, such as the Sonas Programme, stimulate all five senses. This article provides an overview of the sensory stimulation interventions that are available for people with dementia, and a review of the research in this area.

Read the full research article here

Effect of the Sonas Programme on communication in people with dementia: A Randomised Controlled Trial

This research project explored the effect of participation in Sonas Group Sessions on the communication abilities of people with moderate to severe dementia. Read the full research article here

Read the full research article here

Impact of the Sonas Programme on Communication over a Period of 24 Weeks in People with Moderate-to-Severe Dementia

This research examined how communication abilities changed over time among nursing home residents with moderate-to-severe dementia who were attending the Sonas programme and to explore whether changes in communication abilities were related to cognitive ability.

Read the full research article here

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