A course to help dementia sufferers unlock their cherished memories is coming to Keighley in the New Year.
Memorywise uses familiar music, pictures and even food to re-kindle memories once thought lost, and can help both those with memory problems and their carers.
The course has run successfully in Shipley, but ended earlier this month. The group behind it now has funding to start a ten-week course at Keighley Healthy Living Centre in Scott Street, starting in January.
Rather than dismiss sufferers as being beyond help, the course aims to re-awake memories that are so important to a person’s identity. It uses techniques like ‘desert island disc’ sessions and picnics with sufferers’ favourite foods on the menu.
Voluntary care group Taking Time received £10,000 of Lottery funding earlier this year for two projects, and Keighley was announced last week as the base for the second of these.
Those who run the course – open to people diagnosed with memory problems in the past 18 months – say they have seen a huge change in participants and friendships have been created within the groups.
Dr Elizabeth Milwain, a psychologist specialising in memory loss, and Jane Dale, a facilitator of reminiscence projects, have run the sessions for about a dozen sufferers.
Dr Milwain said: “They have really enjoyed coming, and very quickly people started making friends within the group.
“They had never met before, but by using the techniques we do, it broke down barriers. They really get to know each other. Some of them are continuing to meet in cafes because they have bonded so well. They don’t want to say goodbye to each other.
“Carers are often quite surprised by how much people can remember. It really helps after the session. They have things to talk about once they leave, and they can do a lot of these remembrance activities once they get home.
“There have been a lot of studies about remembrance, but this is bringing it out of research facilities and into the community. If you give people time and attention, it is amazing how much they will remember.”
The Keighley project starts on January 18 from 1.30pm to 3.30pm and will continue until March 22. Contact Mrs Dale on 01274 560907 or Dr Milwain on 01274 583364 for further information.