Strengthen your brain!

The snappy newspaper headline headed an article about a study showing that person-to-person activities, particularly active listening, were more effective than drugs in reversing depression in people living with dementia.  Depression slows blood flow to the brain so is clearly not good either before or after a diagnosis.  The same study also showed that social interaction held back the symptoms of dementia, and even helped increase brain volume.  Significantly, it also held back cognitive ageing by four years.

Brain and Soul Boosting for Seniors (BSBS), is a social interaction programme developed by a cognitive behavioural therapist and a psychogeriatric nurse to help people with dementia –  though it’s now also effective with people who want to keep their brains sharp!  It’s  happening in range of settings, with pastoral leaders in churches, outreach workers in sheltered housing, hospital settings, and in private homes with couples.  A hospital chaplain said, ‘seeing the difference to patients, the psychiatrist came into the day room to see what was going on!’ it improves cognition (thinking) and raises self-confidence and strengthens spsiritual awareness.

Janet Jacob, the leader of the early groups in PFS’ retirement housing for three years, said, ‘It was so satisfying to see self confidence returning as people listened to one another; it encouraged them to keep contributing, and friendships were formed.  We had five evaluators, and on each one most people’ capacity increased.  Some of them used to say to me, ‘I’m not as bad as I thought I was!’

Pastoral leaders  in an established church in Nottingham hold it regularly, and told us that participants’ responses ranged from ‘brilliant’ to ‘great!’ and added, ‘People love coming for this’.

You can learn more from the upcoming seminars below –

By Zoom at Penhurst Retreat Centre, 7:30 on 8th September -go to –

Seminar Wednesday 13th October, 11:00 at Christian Resources Exhibition, Sandown Park, Esher.  The Exhibition begins at 8.00 am Tuesday 12th. Obtain your free                                          entry ticket here





Louise Morse

Louise Morse MA (CBT) is media and external relations manager for the Pilgrims’ Friend Society. She is a writer and speaker, and author of books on issues of old age, including dementia, published by Lion Monarch and SPCK. She is a cognitive behavioural therapist, and her Masters’ dissertation examined the effects of caring for a loved one with dementia on close relatives.

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