Working With People
Living Words is an arts charity that aims to make marginalised people to be better heard and understood. We began life at St Thomas’ Hospital in London in 2007. By listening to people staying in the elderly care unit, Susanna Howard saw how much one-on-one communication in the moment, using sound, silence and spoken & written words, benefited those with late-stage dementia. Those discoveries were fed into Living Words residencies over subsequent years in care homes, nursing homes, community centres, arts centres, day centres, libraries, theatres and hospitals.
The artists and writers on our team ‘listen out loud’. They engage one-to-one and face-to-face with people experiencing a late-stage dementia – and those who feel isolated or disempowered in other ways – listening to and reflecting their words to help them feel heard and valued. To share this work with a wider audience, Living Words develops some individuals’ words as inspiration for high-quality arts events, and other collaborations in the cultural sector.
IN CARE HOMES
IN COMMUNITY AND PEOPLE'S HOMES
SUPPORTING CARE HOME STAFF
It can be easy for people who give so much of themselves to others to forget to nurture themselves. We give staff creative ways to look after their own needs so they can be better placed to care for the needs of others. Staff are engaged right from the start of each Living Words residency. Through a series of workshops, we help them understand how best to incorporate the Living Words programme into their care homes, and a number of care staff also experience the Listen Out Loud process and receive their own Living Words book.
The workshop sessions encourage them to reflect and inspire them to think creatively, so that they are better equipped to communicate with their residents using the Living Words books. Hosting a Living Words residency gives staff a chance to express how they feel about the words of the participants, and ultimately a better understanding of the people in their care.
Every home needs to have a Living Words residency. How did we not know the emotions of our residents? The books of their words are now informing their care plans. You have made a real difference to our residents, staff and relatives.
Isobel Nyirenda, manager at Meadows House, Kidbrooke.