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About us

Improving communication between people living with dementia and their carers

What we do

REAL Communication Works helps support the relationships between people living with dementia and their carers by improving communication between them. We work with people and organisations in the social care sector across the UK and Internationally.

We help improve communication through our three core propositions:

– Our REAL Communication workshops focused on developing and improving effective communication for care staff.

The Many Happy Returns Chatterbox cards that help to create instant connection and enjoyable conversation with older people.

– Collaborative innovation projects sharing expertise with partner companies and organisations across the care sector. We help to evolve fresh ideas from concept through development to delivery.

How life led us here

As a result of her mother’s ten years of dementia, Sarah developed an enduring passion for the lives of people living with dementia. She wanted to improve their sense of well-being and self-esteem through better relationships. Through her own personal experiences she believed that by improving communication, you could improve care.

An earlier career as a creative producer in film and then six years’ research, inspired the publication of Many Happy Returns 1940s and 1950s Chatterbox cards. The award-winning cards can now be found in ten thousand family homes, care homes, hospitals, libraries, schools and community centres across the UK.

In 2009, Sarah researched and developed the evidence base for the REAL Communication framework. This provides a basis for good relational care of people with dementia in any setting. Earlier experience as a part-time University lecturer and examiner in visual communication, led her to develop studio-based learning workshops to help care givers develop their interactive communication skills. To date, REAL Communication Workshops have been attended by over a thousand people in the care sector across the UK.

As a result of her mother’s ten-years of dementia, Sarah Reed developed an enduring interest in and passion for improving the care of people living with it and those who care for them. Without inspired, motivated and valued staff, it is not easy to create emotionally secure places for people with dementia to flourish. 

 
An earlier career as a creative producer and six years’ research, inspired the publication of Many Happy Returns Chatterbox cards 1940s and 1950s, which can  be found in nearly ten thousand family homes, care homes, hospitals, libraries, schools and community centres across the UK.

In 2009, she researched and developed the evidence base for the REAL Communication framework, to provide the basis of good relational care in any care setting. 

Sarah Reed

Sarah Reed, is the founder, CEO and lead at REAL Communication Works. Since 2008, she has worked with highly skilled dementia care professionals to deliver innovative products, projects and communication workshops for a variety of local authorities and other training organisations.

She has been a team member of My Home Life for ten years, conceiving and producing the organisation’s 2012 Big Care Home Conversation. More recently, she has worked as an Action Learning Facilitator on the organisation’s admired Leadership Support programme for Care Home Managers.

Sarah is a member of SUCAB (Service User and Carer Advisory Board) in the School of Health Sciences at City University London, where she is also a visiting lecturer.

In 2015, she served on NCVO’s Volunteering in Care Homes advisory board. In 2017 she joined the DH&SC Quality Matters advisory board.

She is a Trustee and thirty-year monthly volunteer for national older people’s charity, Re-Engage (formerly Contact the Elderly).

In recognition of the brilliant team support that developed some award winning products and services

Thank you!

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”

– Phil Jackson, sports coach

National Home Care Awards

Many Happy Returns Chatterbox cards won Best Activity at the national Home Care Awards in 2019.

Performance Learning Awards

Based on REAL Communication, Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance blended training programme won the Gold Award for Innovative Learning at the 2014 Performance Learning Awards.

Bank of America Local Hero Award

In 2009, Sarah was made a Local Hero by Bank of America Neighbourhood Builders program, in recognition of her community work with older guests in Contact the Elderly (now Re-Engage).

The team and advisors helping to make good things happen

Everything we do is focused on improving communication between people living with dementia and their carers. We couldn’t do that without a great team providing their support and expertise. We are lucky to have a stellar and growing team of colleagues and advisors. Let us introduce you …

Suzy Webster

Advisor

Family carer, good practice specialist in the care of people living with dementia, My Home Life, AgeCymru programme assistant and Action Learning facilitator; Trustee, Alive! Activities

Danuta Lipinska

Advisor

Passionate specialist in the understanding and care of any older person and those with dementia, successful author, counsellor, supervisor, Action Learning facilitator, trainer and International speaker.

Shaaron Caratella

Advisor

Manager, Queens Court Care Home, specialist in older people’s nursing, using biographical work and activities to promote quality of life for those living and working at the home.

Zoe Harris

Advisor

Specialist in improving people’s experience of care. Founder/creator, Care Charts UK, Mycarematters and My Future Care Handbook. HSJ Innovator and Nesta Radical 2014.

Graham Clark

NED

A former investment banker, successful start-up founder and executive leader. Currently guiding a number of stealth start-ups in learning development and FinTech.

Dr Maria Liakata

Advisor

Professor of Computer Science at Queen Mary University London;  Turing Institute Lead Investigator, ‘Creating time sensitive sensors from user-generated language. 

some of our real communication clients

Many Happy Clients

Since 2008, we have been delighted to work with a range of wonderful clients…

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Help end loneliness for thousands of older people across the UK

Please support our favourite charity, Re-Engage, the only charity solely committed to tackling isolation in older people, by helping them to re-engage with their communities through regular face-to-face social gatherings, giving them a lifeline of friendship.

Want to know more?

We welcome the opportunity to tell your more about our services