Hitchin nursing home’s appeal for postcards to help trigger residents’ memories

PUBLISHED: 08:31 27 July 2018

Benslow Nursing Home residents enjoy looking at postcards as part of reminiscence therapy. Picture courtesy of Sam Tyers.

Benslow Nursing Home residents enjoy looking at postcards as part of reminiscence therapy. Picture courtesy of Sam Tyers.

Archant

An appeal is being made for people to send postcards from their summer holidays to residents at a nursing home, to help with their memory recall and to promote positive feelings and engagement with the community.

Benslow Nursing Home residents enjoy looking at postcards as part of reminiscence therapy. Picture courtesy of Sam Tyers.Benslow Nursing Home residents enjoy looking at postcards as part of reminiscence therapy. Picture courtesy of Sam Tyers.

The idea is the brainchild of Sam Tyers, who is the engagement coordinator at Benslow Nursing Home in Hitchin and is keen to stimulate residents’ minds in an uplifting and positive way.

The postcards will be used during something called reminiscence therapy, which involves the discussion of past activities with the aid of prompts such as photographs, music and familiar items from the past.

It is an effective way to connect with a person who has dementia and to help manage some of the more distressing symptoms of the illness, but Sam says the therapy is beneficial to all residents at the Hitchin nursing home.

She said: “I think I have the best job because I do all the activities with the residents, so I get all the fun!

“The benefits of reminiscence therapy are well-known and documented. With people with dementia, it helps with core memories from childhood and promotes positive feelings, reducing stress and aggression, but it is good for all our residents.

“We do reminiscence therapy regularly and we are currently working with Hitchin museum, who recently held a holiday workshop and it was great to see the residents come alive.

“Those who don’t usually contribute a lot were really engaged, and it gave me the idea of people from the community sending postcards to our residents.”

Sam is asking people to send postcards from their holidays starting with ‘Dear all’, so as to include all the residents, and perhaps including things that are famous in that particular area, to prompt simple questions and help promote memory recall.

She said: “I’m really excited about the possibilities this initiative holds for the residents. People hold onto cherished memories, and these usually include childhood holidays.”

Benslow Nursing Home can accommodate up to 35 residents at one time and, as well as being a nursing home, offers specialist dementia care and end of life care too.

If you would like to send a postcard to the residents, the address is Benslow Nursing Home, Benslow Rise, Hitchin, Herts, SG4 9QY.

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