An innovative ‘memory box’ project at Sandfields care home, Cheltenham, is helping bring carers, residents and their families even closer together.
The ‘memory box’ is the brainchild of Sandfields’ Activities Coordinator David Ible, who asked his colleagues to fill shoeboxes with mementos to bring back to the home and use as a talking point for residents.
The boxes were filled with memory-provoking items such as classic toys, wedding memorabilia and even stamp collections. They were dotted around the home and shared with residents, who relished going through the items, which stirred up memories of their past.
David, who recently won Activities Coordinator of the Year at parent company Care UK’s RCS (Residential Care Services) Stars Awards, says the memory boxes have really helped interaction at the home.
He says: “Though it’s a simple idea, the boxes have had a real impact on our residents, some of whom have dementia. By prompting them to tell us about their wedding, the toys they played with as children or their old stamp collection, really helps them to talk more and open up to us.”
David says the boxes have also had a positive effect on the relatives of residents. He comments: “Sometimes a son or daughter visiting their relative won’t know what to talk about, as they feel the relationship has changed. The boxes have proven to be a great ice-breaker, providing food for thought so that families can really enjoy reminiscing about the old days.”
The memory box project complements another initiative at Sandfields care home, where residents have their own personal box outside their room, full of items and photos from their past. This not only helps them identify their room, but it also encourages residents to socialise with each other.