The conversational skills of a dementia sufferer, who only used to speak to reveal what he wanted for dinner or to say that he was going to bed, has returned after joining a group of men sharing their memories of great football games.
George Jaconelli runs a weekly group in Prestwick, where men with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia meet to revive long-past football memories.
AdvertisementHe said that the practice could have an amazing effect.
Now, a study has supported this by showing that dementia sufferers can start to communicate again and see their symptoms reduced, even if just for a short time.
In the study, men with dementia were encouraged to talk about football.
"A lack of social stimulation is harmful for people with dementia. It exaggerates the impact of the condition. It can lead to depression and it encourages people to withdraw into themselves," the Scotsman quoted Professor Debbie Tolson, from Glasgow Caledonian University, which evaluated the project, as saying.
"What we have found is that football reminiscence is both enjoyable and appears to have many benefits," Tolson added.
Tolson said that he benefits lasted for a few hours or a few days in different people.
"It is not a cure for dementia, but it is something positive we can do. There is not a lot provided for men with dementia," she said.
The study looked at how football reminiscence could be delivered in different ways, including community groups, one-to-one sessions with club historians and groups meeting in care homes.
"We found that it encouraged people to converse, that it seemed to offset some of the low mood, that it certainly helped people deal with some of the feelings of frustration," Tolson said.