Walsall families are being asked to help create memory boxes for patients with dementia who use the town’s hospital and community services.
Whether it’s dolly pegs, copies of old newspapers, favourite games or bars of soap – many of these items mean a lot to people who are living with dementia or memory problems.
Debbie Shaw, Older People’s Mental Health Liaison Clinical Nurse Specialist with Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, is appealing for communities across the borough to help make up memory boxes to benefit patients.
“Items such as old-fashioned bars of soap, historical photographs and pictures of Walsall and wooden dolly pegs evoke memories in people and can have a calming effect, making them feel less anxious,” she explained.
“We’d like to be able to have a stock of memory boxes that we can use on our wards and out in the community as part of the support we offer to patients with dementia and their families and carers.”
Kirsty Haldron is an Age UK Dementia Support Worker who works with patients at the Manor Hospital.
“A patient’s past life is an important part of their identity and being able to start up conversations with them using items that are meaningful to them is a really good way to get to know them better,” she said.
“We sometimes talk about a person’s working life or routines that they remember such as wash day, and the sights and smells they can recall. “
Memory boxes can be created out of shoe boxes and decorated. Items usually include dolly pegs, old newspapers, pictures of old adverts, historical photographs and documents such as ration books or factory clock cards.
Debbie added: “Pressed flowers, shells, nuts and bolts, ribbons and buttons are other items that can be added. Different textures such as shells and buttons also help patients to calm down and they may like to sit and sort through things too.”
If anyone would like to make up memory boxes they are asked to contact Debbie via email at Debbie.Shaw@walsallhealthcare.nhs.uk.