A visual project to provide a link back to the past for people living with dementia has been successfully completed at Baptistcare Bethel Residential Care in Albany.
Entitled ‘About Me’, the initiative involved gathering special information about the lives of the 20 residents in the Harbour Memory Support Unit for people living with dementia, and creating a personalised and framed snippet of their life in an easy to read format.
Cale Swift, Baptistcare Bethel’s Manager Residential Care said capturing the past for posterity and recording each person’s legacy has proved to be an effective way to demonstrate that while some residents may have difficulty with short term memory, most still have a good recall of significant stories from their past.
“By gathering memories, it is possible to bring important events and experiences from years gone by back to help reconnect people living with dementia to their families once again.”
“Our Memory Support Unit residents have had long and fulfilling lives. We wanted to be able to tap into that past with a memory aid that was visible and easily seen, as a reminder that people living with dementia respond well to the right prompts when it comes to engaging them in conversation.”
“Each poster has individualised images of personal interest and some dot points about the resident’s life, likes and dislikes to help employees, family and visitors connect and reminisce about topics that may still be familiar to the resident,” he said.
Cale said it was important to show care, consideration and respect to each resident by providing them with a meaningful connection to their past.
“Memory books are not new and have been used before, but we found that they were often out of sight and not easily accessible,” he said.
The A3 size ‘About Me’ framed posters are designed to be permanently displayed on each resident’s cupboard door and in plain sight for everyone to read. The project has been so successful that many other Baptistcare Bethel residents not living with dementia have expressed an interest in having one in each of their rooms.
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