Reminiscence groups that help trigger the personal memories of people with dementia are under investigation for cost-effectiveness.
The groups, run by professionals and volunteers, use photographs and recordings to trigger memories for people with dementia.
A £1.2m trial led by researchers at Bangor University aims to investigate the added value of reminiscence group therapy compared with the care that people with dementia are usually offered.
People with dementia will be invited to take part, and will receive either "usual care" in day care centres or will attend 12 weeks of reminiscence groups and a further seven months of therapy.
"The growing number of people with dementia, and the increasing cost of caring for them, provides a major incentive to develop and test methods of supporting them in the community for longer," says Professor Bob Woods.
"Drug treatment has received the most attention, but there is increasing evidence that psychological and social interventions may be equally effective, even preferable where medication has negative side-effects."
"I have been involved in Reminiscence Therapy work for the past 10 years. The groups consist of both the carers/relatives and the person with dementia. I have seen improvements in the participant’s psychological and social wellbeing. Carers say they feel less stressed and it helps when they talk to people with similar problems. The people who benefit most are those with dementia. Their memory of people, places and events improves. Thanks should be given to Professor Bob Woods for bringing Reminiscence work to the forefront of dementia care" - Adrian Dassrath, Community Mental Health Nurse, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust