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Memory Boxes

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approaches to dementia care, care services and care homes, respite care
Memory Boxes

Following the ‘Cumulative Caring Crises’ that I posted about recently (blog post here: https://idea.nottingham.ac.uk/blogs/posts/cumulative-caring-crises-and-residential-ripples) we have now accepted a respite care bed for my dad at the lovely residential home near me. My sister travelled over from France especially to bring dad up to Nottingham following his hospital appointment to check the progress of his bladder cancer. We are not mentioning the ‘L’ (Long-Term) word – just giving him time to settle and benefit from the attention, help and kindness of the staff.

It is hard and sad to see him alternating between being unsure and asking about going home, and being settled and enjoying a meal out with us and a walk by the canal. The home is busy and colourful – something that dad is not used to but that results from their caring, hands-on approach. My sister described it as ‘like Tracy Beaker’s orphanage – all bright colours and busyness’!

I feel too emotional to report in depth, but wanted to share the image below. The home has ‘Memory Boxes’ outside each bedroom where residents can display photos and objects that remind them of people that are important to them, or show a little about their tastes, hobbies and life. It is wonderful to walk along the corridor of bedrooms past model sports cars, or Forest shirts and football paraphernalia, or faded sepia photos of childhood days with mum or dad. 

So I got out my felt-tips and produced a ‘Best Dad’ image with a steam train and mounted a photo of dad with his three daughters below. I hope it helps him find his room and remember that we love him, although I think he will respond more to the idea of steam and a good chug-chug sound!

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Kirsty Chilinski

As a final year neuroscience student, it has become clear during my degree that there are currently no effective drug treatments for dementia, so we must turn to other alternative forms of treatment.

Karen Harrison Dening

There will be large numbers of people with dementia as the population continues to age.  Dementia is a progressive, irreversible neurodegenerative condition that greatly reduces life with one in three of the population expected to die with or from dementia.

Anne de Gruchy

For many years now I have been caught up in a cycle of stress and meltdowns trying to juggle life and work and my dad’s needs. This has been aggravated by the fact that my dad lives 200 miles away, and you will be familiar by now with my rants about the woes of long-distance caring.