A MUSEUM in Liverpool has developed a House of Memories project as a way to help dementia sufferers enjoy some local nostalgia with their carers and loved ones, the Telegraph reports.
“Museums look after memories,” says Carol Rogers, executive director for Education and Communities at National Museums Liverpool, “whether they are thousands of years old or within our lifetime. The House of Memories is our project set up to train carers to use those memories as a resource in dementia care.”
The project was also nominated for the Alzheimer’s Society’s first Dementia Friendly Awards, sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group.
Carol explained: “We train carers to use everyday items from the past to stimulate conversation. Many people may forget their name or who family members are, but then be stimulated by seeing a ration card or holding a dinky toy. It helps families talk normally again, which can ease the strain of visiting.”
As part of the programme, people can borrow a “memory suitcase” containing things such as old football programmes, wartime nylons and even carbolic soap – included for its evocative smell.
Special walking tours will take older visitors who can visit the museum for a trip down nostalgia lane as they relive growing up in Liverpool, and are reminded of the sights of their younger days.
Those who cannot visit can access an app for tablets containing historical clips, music and film clips, which can be customised to the city you live in.
So far more than 5,000 carers have been trained, as the programme expands to other areas of the UK.
“As dementia progresses, short-term memory and cognitive skills diminish,” says Carol. “But patients often return to long-term memories of childhood and growing up. The House of Memories programme supports and stimulates these memories, and makes the dementia journey a bit more bearable for everyone.”
For more details, go to liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/houseofmemories.