Members of the Darnall Dementia Group have helped develop a major new resource pack for people working with sufferers.
The Told in South Yorkshire Life Story Work Group, which involves the group, Sheffield Health and Social Care staff, Sheffield University and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, launched the pack at an event at St Mary’s Conference Centre to ‘celebrate best practice’.
Jane McKeown, a senior nurse at SHSC, which manages the city’s dementia services, said: “Life story is a way of working with a person to gather information about their life.
“This could be work, relationships, family and friends, hobbies and beliefs and then recording that – often in a book, film or memory box.
“It is relevant for people with dementia as they may need reminding about important aspects of their life and life story work can help trigger memories.
“It provides a focus for conversations and can help care staff to understand the person with dementia, perhaps giving an explanation for certain behaviours, likes and dislikes.”
The resource pack has been designed to help people start life story work.
Jane said: “Our aims are to help enhance wellbeing and identity of people living with dementia, conduct research to improve care, recommend best practice and work as a forum to learn from each other.
“This resource tool is a positive step towards helping us to achieve those goals.”
Michelle Wattam, a mental health nurse, said: “The resource pack is fantastic and should be an enormous help to carers who might need some clear, simple information in order to get started.
“The event also provided some great ideas for stimulating and capturing people’s memories through film, music, writing and sounds.”
The Darnall group, a registered charity based on Lightwood Lane, supports people with dementia, including running a day centre ‘based on sharing thoughts and feelings, reminiscing and coming together to have a laugh’.