Balhousie Care Group help residents ‘rummage’ for memories

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A competition at Balhousie Care Group has left a lasting impression on residents and their families after staff created special 'rummage boxes' based on residents' interests and life stories.

Balhousie Care Group’s Dementia Ambassadors were tasked with creating unique ‘rummage boxes’ for residents as part of the company's Together We’re Great initiative. They worked with the residents and their families to create the personalised boxes so that they would evoke special memories.

Rummage box themes varied depending on the residents. One box took on a school theme, containing items which evoked memories of the resident’s time at school, such as a pair of plimsols and some chalk. Another box had a farming theme, with pictures of tractors and toy farm animals.

Each of Balhousie Care Group’s 25 care homes has two dedicated Dementia Ambassadors who work together with Balhousie’s Dementia Consultant, Yvonne Manson, and other Dementia Ambassadors across the company. The Ambassadors meet once every two months to share ideas, knowledge and best practice about dementia care and the care homes they work in. The initiative is part of the group's wider Dementia Strategy, which launched earlier this year after consultation with staff, residents, their families and other healthcare professionals.

Speaking of the positive impact the competition had within Balhousie Care Group, Yvonne Manson commented:

“I was blown away by all the fantastic entries to the memory rummage box competition and the difference this has made for the residents was evident to see. This is exactly why we created the Dementia Strategy at Balhousie Care Group and it shows how our new Together We’re Great initiative is working, with residents and staff coming together to create something special.”

Yvonne continued:

“Creating these memory rummage boxes gives residents the physical objects that are likely to trigger memories from their past. It’s been so heart-warming to see pictures and hear from ambassadors how residents reacted to the box that held memories special to them. I’d like to say a huge congratulations and thank you to the dementia ambassadors who took part and created something residents will no doubt treasure.”

Winners of the memory rummage box competition were Pat Lawrie and Darlene Collins from Monkbarns Care Home in Arbroath, both winning £30 of vouchers which they donated to future sensory projects. Runners up included: Heather Wighton (Clement Park, Dundee), Lauren Keen (St Ronans, Dundee), Jade Scott (Crieff), Alison Buchan (Moyness, Dundee) and Anna Anderson and Sarah Hamilton (Forth View, Fife).

To find out more about Balhousie Care Group's Dementia Strategy, visit: http://www.balhousiecare.co.uk/sites/default/files/documents/rc1052_dementia_strategy_brochure_lr.pdf

To find out more about the Together We’re Great initiative, visit: http://www.balhousiecare.co.uk/together-were-great