Presence and Noticing

Something Cathy Lane’s ideas and thoughts brought me back to this week was mindfulness. In a previous ‘life’ I worked with people who had problems with substances/alcohol/addiction and I found Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) to be very helpful for many people. It is based on mindfulness, on noticing the present, active noticing if you like. Rooting oneself in the present moment to relieve stress and be more logical about reactions and responses, about thinking or slipping into auto-pilot.
Cathy spoke about deep listening, active listening as opposed to allowing sounds to seep in without noticing them.
I have found this very useful in conversation with people slipping into the past with dementia. I talk about the clock in the room, the season outside, what is on the radio, who is presenting, what is in today’s newspaper, looking at today’s diary entry. Simple things but so relevant to dementia, much as it was in my working past.
I’m so interested to see how deep listening might support people and how this might work for people experiencing auditory hallucinations or hearing loss.

New Blog for Dementia Friendly Communities Project at An Lanntair

Arts-Based Dementia Friendly Community

An Lanntair has launched a 3 year arts-based ‘Dementia Friendly Community’ project in the Western Isles, in partnership with Life Changes Trust. The project will engage with people who are living with dementia and those in their circle of care, as well as reaching out to the wider Western Isles community, with the intention of building a bi-lingual dementia friendly community that reflects the specific needs of the place and its people.
The project will use various art forms and co-designing techniques for both engaging with people living with dementia, their carers and the wider community. There will be several creative outcomes that emerge from the project itself, such as exhibitions and artwork as well as the development of innovative design solutions using culturally specific memory .
The project also looks to explore the role that bilingualism (Gaelic/English) plays in the delayed onset of dementia and the related benefits of an oral tradition

We will be encouraging people from the local community to be involved throughout the design, development and delivery of the project, building on individual and community assets.

An Lanntair recognise that there is a need for people who are living with dementia and those in their circle of care to be part of an inclusive community, to be encouraged to participate in the arts and to be given more opportunities to maximise their lives and their potential. For more information, please contact

Workshop following 'How Big Can We Grow' exhibit from visiting artist Peter Schrager
Workshop following ‘How Big Can We Grow’ exhibit from visiting artist Peter Schrager