Oldham students make memory boxes for Dementia-Friendly initiative

Date published: 30 July 2019

Oldham Hulme Grammar School students have been taking part in a Dementia-Friendly group lead by Deborah Howarth.

Deborah has had first-hand experience of relatives that have had Dementia and has been learning throughout her adulthood, how to deal with the effects of the condition.

Workshops have been set up to give the students an insight into how to gain more of an understanding and relate to why people with Dementia may act in a certain way. 

The students created memory boxes to remember their loved ones they have lost or that are living with Dementia.

Deborah said, “The analogy I use to explain Dementia is that I’m a book case and my memories that start at the bottom are my child days then as the book case goes up, the more recent my memories are. 

The book case rocks and the books at the top fall off- meaning people with dementia tend to remember things from their child hood as opposed to recently.”

Using analogies allows the children to have clearer knowledge as to why their loved ones may act in a certain way.

She said, “Sometimes fairy lights are all lit, and some might have gone off, some may be flickering and that’s the same with Dementia.

Some people’s fairy lights may go off in certain areas, some may flicker, so someone with dementia might remember something one day but not the other.

No two people with dementia are the same.”

The students are given reassurance that their loved ones haven’t forgotten about them or don’t care for them.

Speaking with the students they said, “She uses examples like the book case to help us understand that most recent memories are the ones they lose first.

It’s not because they have forgot about you or don’t care about you. We had a workshop about how other people experience it and what they do- so maybe they don’t hear people or see people and it is really scary.”

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