World Alzheimer’s Day 2022 – supporting people living with dementia to communicate

This year, World Alzheimer’s Day 2022 has a special focus on post-diagnosis support.

One of our Action Learning Facilitators, Danuta Lipinska, shares two recent anecdotes of how care home managers have used a specific My Home Life England tool – Photocards – to support people living with dementia to express themselves and to communicate their thoughts and emotions.
The Photocards are cards which feature a series of different images. People are invited to pick a card that represents how they are feeling.

1)One of the managers took the Photocards back to her care home after the end of Day One of the My Home Life England programme.

The cards were spread on a table where a couple of staff members and 3 residents living with a dementia were also sitting. They were invited to join the exercise.

“Pick a card that shows how you are feeling today.”

One person living with dementia chose the card with the jumbled and twisted wool on it. He said: “This is my brain”.

Another chose a card with a child jumping into a lake. “I used to be a good swimmer. Now I’m drowning.”
Staff hadn’t realised that either of these two people could still use spoken language, let alone communicate so accurately.

2) Another manager used a random selection of 5 Photocards with a number of older people, to elicit the views of those living with a dementia on what they thought about their care.

Cards were chosen, and conversations ensued.

The manager and her team were astonished and delighted by the results, and they felt that they were really hearing the residents’ views.



World Alzheimer’s Month is a global opportunity to raise awareness around, educate, encourage support of and demystify dementia.

More information is on Alzheimer’s Society’s website.