The thāllo®method

thāllo® is a non pharmacological psycho-social intervention for elders and people living with dementia. It was developed by Notis Paraskevopoulos and Konstantina Maltezou through a research process that studied the actual needs of elders and people with dementia, their everyday lives and their desires while aiming at the development of a method that concerns everyone, regardless of dementia stage, and which would be easily applicable to different groups in and out of nursing homes. thāllo® is a combination of recreational activities that take place using the Connotation Thought Principle. These activities are introduced into each meeting separately, adapted to the dynamics and needs of each group of beneficiaries, and aim at their active –not passive– participation. The objective is not only recreation itself but also the encouragement to create relations of trust and openness.

In 2018, thanks to a founding grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the program was implemented in 16 nursing homes around the capital of Greece and in March of 2020 all of our activities were digitally transformed, offering the same quality of services in more than 30 nursing homes all over the country, with the valuable support of a network of trained volunteers and a number of health care professionals who have been trained in order to integrate the method in their everyday work.

thāllo® approach has no language barriers and can be implemented in different cultures.

To date the use of all the aspects of the thāllo® method has shown significant results in the everyday life of the elderly and people living with dementia, such as:

Decrease of confusion.

Stress relief.

Reduction of mood swings.

Soothing of the feeling of institutionalization.

Avoidance or improvement of depression.

The use of the method on a regular basis is proven to smooth down the relationship of staff/caregivers and care receivers, as those trained in the new philosophy we propose, learn to adapt to a new form of communication with the people living with dementia.

Since 2022, thāllo® is a registered trademark.

The "Connotation Thought Principle"

We observed that the elderly, especially those living with dementia, participated in the program more actively, noticeably, and frequently, while showing signs of logical flow in their thinking, when the message was conveyed in the form of successive connotations, either verbally or visually, in each case combining two or more senses. 

Putting this observation into practice and changing the time gaps between the connotations, we noticed that the elderly, regardless of their mental state or experiential and social background, got involved more and more often in the activities, they socialized, and their mood improved rapidly.

Based on this observation, we continued to experiment during our frequent visits to seniors, both individually and in groups. In time, we developed our own theory, which is now called Connotation Thought Principle, and which we keep on applying and evolving.

"Isolated Listening Method"

Along with the main core of the method and closely tied to it, we use the Isolated Listening Method through which the elderly listen to selected musical pieces related to their social background. Indicative results of this approach – especially in people living with dementia – include the observation of movement patterns, the use of correct syntax and the reappearance of speech in patients that had gradually stopped speaking.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality technology is already used abroad as a tool that helps communication with people with severe cognitive and motor impairment, and it is proven to reduce certain dementia symptoms, such as stress, confusion and mood swings. In October 2018, thāllo introduced virtual reality technology to nursing homes in a way that didn’t discourage the beneficiaries, but as a supplement to thāllo. The results were encouraging, while in some cases people spoke or smiled and generally reacted in ways that had been considered as irrevocably lost. Those reactions led to the implementation of new projects, specifically designed for people living with dementia.

Awards & Nominations

  • Cultural Creativity Award for thāllo® program (Konstantina Maltezou) | Youthmakers Hub | Young Leaders Awards | 2020

  • Exceptional Contribution Award (Notis Paraskevopoulos) | Hellenic Initiative Against Alzheimer’s Disease | Journey to Hope Greece | 2021

  • Social Action Award Finalist (Notis Paraskevopoulos) | Study UK Alumni Awards | British Council | 2023
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