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Fighting dementia in Mansfield

Posted onPosted on 24th Mar
Fighting dementia in Mansfield

New Talking Memory courses being run in Nottinghamshire libraries have been welcomed by people with dementia and carers.

Nottinghamshire County Council’s Adult Community Learning Service (ACLS) has funded Creative Paths CIC to deliver a new reminiscence course called Talking Memories at West Bridgford Library to carers of people living with dementia.

The scheme has been such a success that further courses are planned at both Mansfield Library and Worksop Library, starting on April 17.

The courses provide tips to help carers learn valuable skills to get the most from reminiscing with people with dementia, using the council’s new Memory Lane kits, which feature vintage visual aids and objects designed to help spark memories.

Talking Memories learner Sandra Morrey, runs the Memory Lane café in West Bridgford Methodist Church as a joint project between the church and West Bridgford Rotary Club. It is a fun, interactive afternoon of reminiscence activities, singing and afternoon tea for those with memory problems, along with their loved ones and carers. It meets monthly at the church in Musters Road.

Sandra’s late mother-in-law Peggy had dementia, and Sandra said: “The Talking Memory courses are extremely helpful. They provide carers with knowledge and confidence to learn how to effectively communicate through reminiscing, signpost to other services, and socialise with others.

“The fact that there is a respite service too is a great idea, because while the carers are learning in one area of the library, people with dementia are taking part in fun interactive sessions with staff in another area of the library. I have learnt a lot from being on this course and think it will appeal to many others.”

Sandra’s friend and café regular visitor Artemis Purdham, from Rushcliffe District, has early stage dementia, and fully supports the county council’s Talking Memories initiative. She said: “It was very good, interesting, proactive and I would like to do another course. I came away each Monday with a buzz!

“People who didn’t talk much at the beginning opened up and were talking about all sorts of things. There was a lot of communication. I enjoyed the reminiscence activities on things such as holidays, food, chocolate/sweets, famous faces, sayings, then and now, etc. Lots of books to look at such as Memories of the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, games we used to play, hobbies such as knitting, crocheting and puzzles. The contents of the Memory Lane kits were really useful as conversation prompts.”

The Talking Memory course participants learn practical reminiscence and communication skills which can be used with the people they care for to stimulate conversation, activity and engagement.

As well as helping carers to learn useful conversation ‘hooks’ to spark conversations, they use a range of both vintage and modern objects. The course provides the carers with the confidence to use reminiscence and the Memory Lane Kits with the person they care for with the aim of benefitting both the carer and the person cared for.

Councillor John Knight, Committee Chairman for Culture, at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “Dementia affects so many people and our libraries aim to offer an important place to empower carers and people with dementia in terms of knowledge, education and support.

“Our pioneering Memory Lane kits are already proving extremely popular and these Talking Memories courses provide another way where our libraries can support people living with dementia and their families and carers.”

The county council’s Adult and Community Learning Service offers high quality learning opportunities in local settings to benefit local communities and individuals of all abilities by working in partnership with communities and a wide range of organisations.

Nottingham-based Creative Paths CIC provides creative activity and learning for wellbeing. It specialises in offering creative participatory workshops and learning for people with complex disabilities and conditions such as dementia in a range of settings including care and nursing homes, community settings such as libraries and in people’s homes.

To check availability and secure a place on the talking memory courses at Mansfield and Worksop email Karyn Stavert the programme director on [email protected] before March 31st 2015 or call 07722 783467. For information on other services visit:

An official launch of the Books on Prescription: Dementia Collections takes place at Worksop Library during Dementia Awareness Week 17 -23 May.