People in East Devon living with dementia and other degenerative conditions will be offered ‘armchair adventures’ and ‘musical life stories’ as part of an expanded reminiscence service.
The Forget Me Not project is being enhanced thanks to a £44,000 grant from Devonshire Freemasons to the Action East Devon charity
The new services will see trained volunteers and project staff run themed sessions for people with early onset dementia, helping them to collect music associated with their life stories. Music is downloaded onto portable personal music players, including headphones which can accommodate hearing aids.
The Armchair Travel sessions takes participants on a tour of a chosen country, including music, large screen videos, food, celebrations, clothing and decorations from the destination country.
Memory boxes are provided for those with sensory impairment and memory loss, containing a collection of objects from the 1930’s to the 1970’s.
The boxes are based on a theme such as Christmas past, looking good, staying healthy, royalty, school days, Travels and Holidays. The items are textured, scented, colourful and noisy, appealing to all the senses and prompting participants to share stories and compare past experiences.
The grant from Devonshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Charlotte Hanson, chief executive of Action East Devon, said:
“We’re very grateful for their generous grant which will help us to make sure older people in East Devon continue to have their stories valued and that they and their families and carers are supported throughout their lives.
“This year we are celebrating Action East Devon’s 20th birthday and we are very excited to be able to carry on this work for a further three years.”
Ian Kingsbury JP Provincial Grand Master of the Devonshire Freemasons said: “We’re very pleased to be able to help Action East Devon with this very valuable project to help people with dementia. Dementia rates in Devon being much higher than the national average, it’s especially important that we look at providing new services both for people with dementia and for their families and carers.”