Football may help dementia sufferers

A SCOTTISH project which uses football to stimulate the minds of dementia sufferers could be extended internationally after producing “startling” results at home, a top university said yesterday.

Researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University said showing football memorabilia to men with the condition stimulated their memories in a “remarkable” way.

The study, which used match photographs and programmes as the basis for discussions, found that the men responded well to the memorabilia and were able to chat to others about their memories of players and games.

The university said interest in the pilot initiative has already been expressed as far afield as Canada, where researchers are considering using ice hockey as the basis for a similar study.

Professor Debbie Tolson, director of the university’s Scottish Centre for Evidence Based Care of Older People, said: “This was a fascinating study that revealed impressive results.

“The men’s life-long interest in football connected them to their former selves and shared memories. There is very little provided specifically for men with dementia and this is a welcome and positive innovation.

“We have had a tremendous response to this research, with Canada considering adopting the same principle with ice hockey.”

The project has been conducted by the university with the Scottish Football Museum, Alzheimer Scotland and member clubs of the Scottish Football Heritage Network.

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