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Très bien! Scottish care home residents ace French exam!

Care home residents from Sanctuary Care’s Westwood House celebrate exam success as they tackle dementia with language lessons

It was a chorus ‘très bien’, ‘superbe’ and ‘fantastique’ as the proud residents of Sanctuary Care’s Westwood House in East Kilbride celebrated exam success after acing their French SQA exams in a unique initiative to tackle dementia.

Westwood House’s Home Manager, Alexandria Wall arranged for ten residents to have French lessons with Lingo Flamingo, an organisation focused on making language and learning interactive and accessible. 

Tutor, Judy Ford, and others from the organisation, are specialists in working with elderly residents and particularly those living with dementia and are making it their mission to tackle dementia through language learning. 

Following just 12 French lessons, Judy invited her group of students to take part in a formal assessment, with four of the residents achieving their Nat2 qualification in French as a result. They were awarded their Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) certificate along with letters of congratulations from the House of Commons by local MP Dr Lisa Cameron during a graduation ceremony at the home. 

Speaking of the resident’s achievement, Alexandra, said:

“We love introducing innovative programmes and initiatives that really benefit our residents. Part of feeling fulfilled and content in life is experiencing a sense of achievement and it is wonderful to see our residents realising this.

“Everyone that took part enjoyed it so much. When I reminded them in the mornings that they had their French lesson later that day, they were always so excited and really looked forward to it. 

“The effort they all put in was amazing – some would even go off and practice on their own. They really worked so hard – and as a team, we are all absolutely as proud as punch of each of them!”

Sanctuary Care is dedicated to enriching the lives of its residents and part of this is to instil a sense of achievement. The benefits of learning a new skill in later life include confidence building, creating connections, stimulating the mind and experiencing something new and exciting. Incredibly, this has been shown to improve the participants’ decision making and multi-tasking skills, heightening their ability to concentrate and communicate.

The French lessons were not only beneficial to the residents taking part but as their confidence grew, they would also sing songs in French during meal times and in shared leisure time. This level of interaction meant that the sessions were inclusive for all residents – who would sit and enjoy the songs. 

For more about Sanctuary Care, visit Latest News | Sanctuary Care (


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