Vegetarian for Life

Vegetarian and vegan Talking Mats: A new resource for carers

Posted by Kim on 02/10/23 in VfL News and Events

Talking Mats is an innovative, award-winning communication tool, based on extensive research, designed by Speech and Language Therapists. Now Vegetarian for Life has developed a set of Talking Mats especially for those caring for older vegans and vegetarians. VfL's Director for Scotland, Kim Stringer, describes how this resource came about.

"I first had a Talking Mat conversation at the Alzheimer Scotland conference in 2019 and was struck by the way a picture of my likes and dislikes emerged. I wouldn’t have collected all these ideas together in a spoken conversation and I immediately thought this would be a great tool to use to explore an issue that Vegetarian for Life was becoming increasingly aware of.   

"We support older vegans and vegetarians, and those who care for them, and we had been hearing about some vegetarians with dementia who were asking for meat.  It seemed unlikely to us that people who had chosen to be vegan or vegetarian because of their beliefs would suddenly reconsider these views.  Staff and families were facing a dilemma and I thought Talking Mats would be a great tool to explore food preferences and perhaps help to find out if a person was genuinely asking for meat. 

"After initial conversations with Talking Mats we had a seminar to gather other team members’ thoughts, and we began to create the resource.  We decided what topics we wanted to cover, how these could be grouped, and what top scales would work."

The vegetarian and vegan Talking Mats include four food-related topics with specially designed symbols: 

  • Values
  • Lifestyle
  • My Dietary Choice
  • My Eating Experience

You can read more about these topics here.

"We hope that the conversations generated by the mats will allow care providers to get to better know the person who is receiving care. They may also foster a greater understanding of vegetarianism and veganism."

To order Talking Mats training and the exclusive vegetarian and vegan card resource, visit our online shop


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