Watched an old western movie on TV the other night and now I’m trying to extract some value out of the two hours spent in Couchpotatoland. In one of the scenes, a rustic character bites a coin to determine if it is gold or brass. That is a skill that, unfortunately, I haven’t needed, but it seems incumbent on me to make sure that our materials are "the real thing." We believe they are, and this is a summary of why we have that confidence:
1. Positive reports from a large, diverse population of people who use the materials.
2. We have had only one negative comment we have received since we began.
3. Volunteers from our church use SmilesUp conversation starter cards when, twice a month, they visit a facility where 90% of the residents have dementia. This is about 300 separate uses per year, all positive.
4. Diana Walters’s original research (rigorously done and reported in a major international journal) was decisively positive—five times better than just “talking to.”
5. A group of newbies had less fear and more joy than they expected using the SmilesUp conversation starter cards during their first-ever visits with strangers in a care center.
6. Experiences, both reported and observed, of dementia patients at ElderCaring, a twice monthly daycare provided by Falling Water CP Church, are consistently positive.
7. Studies done on Montessori methods in the last 100 years, a huge quantity of careful research, supports what we design and advocate.
8. Finally, the one that really counts for us, is that God said that his Word, rightly used, will “not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Is 55:11). We believe that, and it is for that reason that we work hard to fulfill the vision God has given us. Please pray that we do our best.
We conclude from this evidence that the materials work.
Now, it is true that one must adapt to the characteristics of the other person. That is true in every interaction. Every interaction. And because people who have cognitive or life-state issues are often more different from ourselves than are most of the people we talk with, it is important to learn some “do’s and don’ts” about communicating with them. A good place to start is with articles on this site. Click on these links: Story about the “Newbies” and Research by Diana Walters. Other articles accessed by the “HOW TO” button on the Home Page will also be helpful.