Glasgow Care Home Residents Learn French to Delay Dementia


Residents at a care home in Bearsden are proving it’s never too late to learn a new language by taking up French lessons.

Meallmore’s Antonine House care home has teamed up with Glasgow-based social enterprise Lingo Flamingo, who visit once a week to provide interactive language classes.

Language learning in later years has been shown to have a number of benefits and it is believed that speaking multiple languages can delay the onset of dementia by up to five years. The classes help to improve residents’ cognitive ability, communication skills and well-being, as well as build their confidence.

The course material is designed to be accessible and the classes are very interactive, focusing on speech as well as using props to introduce sensory learning through touch and smell. Through the topics covered, such as food and drink, travel and school, residents are inspired to share their memories and stories. They also enjoy singing French songs together, such as Frère Jacques.

Bobby Dougan, care home manager at Antonine House, said: “We run a number of activities in the care home to encourage residents to interact and have fun and there is no doubt that the French language workshops are one of their favourites.

“We have had 16 lessons so far and it has been wonderful to see residents become more and more engaged as the weeks have gone by. As well as learning the language, they have also found it really interesting to learn about French culture and customs.

“We’re committed to providing exceptional standards of care at Meallmore and this is just one of the ways in which we look to enrich our residents’ lives.”

Judith Eck, French Tutor from Lingo Flamingo, said: “One main benefit of language learning for the residents is that it gives them a “mental workout” and re-ignites language that they may have learned in school.

“We find even the quietest residents find their voices when we work with numbers or days of the week and can join in. There’s no worry of having ‘forgotten the words’ because everyone is at the same stage.

“The group really enjoy the lessons and they participate well. It’s also a great social hour – they love getting together and sharing their stories and memories and it’s a real privilege for us to hear them.”


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