A Thurrock-based project is seeking new volunteers to join them this Christmas to support elderly care home residents with Dementia to remember their memories.
The volunteer-led ‘Making Memories’ project connects local volunteers with older people living in Thurrock’s care homes who would benefit from talking to someone about their early memories.
Launched in 2015, the project is now seeking new volunteers so they can increase the number of people they can help and provide more individual memory making sessions.
Annie O’Brien, Project Manager, set up the facility in 2014 and explains why it’s important:
“Dementia can be frightening and isolating. There is no cure. However, research suggests that talking about early memories can improve the physical and mental wellbeing of those with Dementia.
“Our volunteers do this by visiting people in care homes to talk about their lives, reminiscing through objects or photographs which evoke happiness and positive memories.”
Thurrock resident, Paul Anderson, joined the project as a volunteer after retiring from HSBC in 2014. Paul explains:
“Following my retirement I wanted to give something back locally as I’ve lived in Thurrock all my life.
“As a Making Memories volunteer, I regularly visit several older people in care homes to help them reconnect with memories they feel may be lost to them. We do this by creating a memory box which uses old photographs of items they remember from the 40s and 50s. We spend between one to two hours reminiscing about events and people that are important to them.
“For some people in the early stages of Dementia, this Christmas may be one of the last they remember so I’d encourage anyone thinking of volunteering as a New Year resolution to join us and help us unlock those memories.”
You can watch Paul give an overview of how memory boxes are used to support individuals with Dementia here: https://youtu.be/yfiJ3e-0jQk
How can I get involved?
Interested volunteers should contact Annie O’Brien in the first instance on 01375 859911
Following an initial chat about what’s involved, volunteers will be invited to a training session to learn more about how Dementia affects people and how to start conversations to unlock memories. The next session is 24 January 2017 at the Tilbury Riverside Building.
Shadowing of current volunteers will also be available.
All volunteers will be expected to commit to regular visits to individuals in Thurrock’s care homes, but full support will be given. Sessions can last between one to two hours and on days of your choosing.
What skills do I need?
Memory loss affects people differently, so our volunteer team needs to be diverse. The greatest skill you will bring is listening. You will also be happy to ask questions of individuals that you do not know very well to encourage them to open up and share their memories with you.
Commitment to the project after training is essential so we can reach more people with Dementia in Thurrock.
For more information please contact:
Tilbury Riverside Project
Tel: 01375 859911