Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Sonas - Irish word meaning well-being, joy and contentment

Also the name given to a sensory stimulation programme.

S was offered a place on a Sonas course.  As the day of the week on which it takes place is one when we have the care worker visiting to sit with S for a few hours, I asked her if she would like to go with S.  She readily agreed even though this meant adjusting her time of arrival.

I thought it would be interesting for S to go to an activity with someone else.  The downside of this is that I don't have a clear idea of what goes on.  However I offered to go and collect S at the end of the session as the care worker lives near the venue and could then go straight home.

The session was winding down when I arrived.  I could see S was quite happy, as she mostly is these days.  Two things slightly disturbed me however.  All the other participants were clearly quite old.  We are used to this, to an extent, as S is still relatively young at 63 and a large majority of people with dementia are a good deal older.  But usually there's a handful of younger people at the activities we attend.  I'm not sure whether this bothers S though the songs they were singing along to at the end were all old songs and I doubt whether she would have known more than one or two.

The other thing was that, from my brief sample of the session, the prevailing attitude towards the participants might have been a little patronising.  I am now quite sensitive to this since I realised how easy it is to get into the habit of treating someone with dementia as a child:

This struck a chord

Neither of these reservations make me at all question the potential value of the approach which involves stimulating all the senses in a programmed way.  The care worker said that S really enjoyed it though she did find some of the activities difficult (which she does at most of the sessions we attend).  So I'm still hopeful that there will be benefits beyond the enjoyment (which is obviously good in itself).

I would be happy to hear from anyone with experience of Sonas.


  1. I have just been catching up on your blog and I'm pleased to read that S is doing well. You have done so much research, I do hope that something concrete comes of the all the research. It would be so welcomed by families of patients with dementia. Best wishes x.

    1. It's good to hear from you Lesley. Thank you.

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