Sunrise of Winchester Partner with The Memory Box Project to take Residents Back to their Youth

Sunrise  |  July 24, 2019

Sunrise of Winchester has partnered with the The Memory Box Project to run sessions for residents living with dementia. They provide a box of items that spark historical memories, which has seen an improved level of engagement and conversation amongst residents.

The project has been running since February 2016 and was set up to help people in Hampshire living with dementia to look back on their past and discuss their memories with their community. The project was set up by The Wessex Heritage Trust and is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, meaning that they are able to offer the service free of charge.

The session centres on a memory box containing many items based around 14 themes including childhood, Christmas, shopping, holidays and cooking. The box contains antiques, vintage and replica items, smell boxes, sounds and fact sheets. These items serve to invoke memories and prompt discussion about the residents’ experiences with these objects. The sessions last 45-60 minutes and use different items such as magnifying glasses, or old-fashioned cameras and music to engage four of the five of residents’ senses.

The Project has been incredibly successful at Sunrise of Winchester with team members noting the joy residents have been experiencing when they recognise an item from their younger years and are able to share their experience with the group. It’s also resulted in increased understanding and boosted rapport between team members and residents.

Louise Murkin, Activities and Volunteers Co-ordinator for Sunrise of Winchester, said:

“It has been fantastic to see how enthusiastic residents have been to be involved with The Memory Box Project. Seeing residents interact with and talk about items they haven’t seen in years has been a joy to witness, as well as educational for our team.

“We know that all residents have a story to tell and we are always looking to partner with organisations that enable residents to do this.”

Erin McMurtry, Senior Project Manager for The Wessex Heritage Trust and The Memory Box Project, said:

"The Memory Box Project is a reminiscence project for people living with dementia. We visit Sunrise of Winchester every month bringing a different theme for each session.

“Sunrise of Winchester has been extremely supportive of our project and we very much enjoy our visits with the wonderful residents that live there.

“Our overall aim is that staff and participants enjoy the sessions and come away feeling happy, confident and able to continue using reminiscence as an effective communication aid.“