MEMORIES of the seaside have been flooding back for elderly care home residents with dementia thanks to a Rotherham museum’s interactive sensory sessions.
Team members from Clifton Park Museum have been visiting Broadacres Care Home, on Naylor Street, Parkgate, to deliver the sessions.
The first was themed around the seaside, when a projector showed an image of the sea gently lapping on a beach, while residents interacted with sand made from rice and fresh lavender, seashells, buckets, spades, thermos flasks, ice creams made from playdough, and a vintage pram.
Hard boiled eggs, a staple of past seaside trips for many of the residents, brought back fond memories for Ruby Gillions. She said: “We put the eggs in a bag for the train and cracked them when we got to Cleethorpes.”
Resident Jenny Parkin, 74, has advanced dementia, rarely speaks, and has a therapy doll that is her baby. When she saw the projection of the sea, she dipped the baby’s feet in and gently splashed, before patting the baby dry and rocking her to sleep.
Pat Brewer, activities coordinator at Broadacres Care Home, said: “Jenny was completely engrossed in her memories of taking her own children to the seaside.
“She had a beaming smile on her face for the rest of the day. It was so incredibly poignant.”
The projector was also used to show a woodland scene, which had resident Ruby Gillians, 87, recalling family picnics. She said: “I want to be the first one to see a bee landing on a yellow flower.
“I took my sons on a picnic but we didn’t want to put the blanket down and squash the flowers.”
The projector was such a success at bringing back fond memories for the residents, the home as invested £300 raised in their Easter raffle on buying their own.
Another session with Clifton Park Museum was themed around shopping and vintage grocery items, such as Camp Chicory Coffee and Omo suds, which sparked conversations about what they used to buy.
Resident Margaret Whiteley, 81, said: “The shops were so different in the old days. They weren’t these big stores you get now. You knew the shop keepers and could spend time talking.
“We used to drink Camp because you didn’t get all the different coffees you get nowadays. It was nice with milk.”
A third session with the museum focussed on childhood games, including hopscotch, hoopla, juggling, tiddlywinks, and dominoes.
Chris Cousins, home manager at Broadacres Care Home, said: “The sessions with Clifton Park Museum have been brilliant. A huge success at bringing back fond memories for our residents, many of whom live with dementia.
“Interactive sensory sessions like these have many therapeutic benefits for those with dementia, helping to alleviate stress and anxiety, boosting mood, and improving general wellbeing, often for hours or even days afterwards.
“The projector was a particular success so we decided to purchase our own so residents can continue with these sensory activities in future.
“We’d like thank the staff at Clifton Park Museum, who have been brilliant with the residents throughout. It was good to see them engaging so well, with all the different needs of everyone. There was something for everyone to enjoy.”