Sheffield specialist records people losing the power of speech
A Sheffield specialist has set up a social enterprise to record the thoughts of people who are losing their powers of communication after a close friend developed early onset Parkinson’s disease.
Virginia Lowes established My Own Words to make recordings to use as memoirs and memory aids when communication becomes more difficult.
It can be when individuals become physically unable to speak or, for example with dementia, memory and confusion begin to make speech a challenge.
The firm has clients of all ages but is especially keen to work with younger people who have progressive illnesses, such as Huntington’s, Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson’s and Dementia.
Recordings can be transcribed and written up and printed. The firm also uses film and photography.
Virginia was on a training scheme run by Lloyds School of Social Entrepreneurs when a friend developed Parkinson’s.
She said: “The enterprise was very much a collection of ideas based on using skills built up over a lifetime but when a close friend was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s, it drew attention to the need for this kind of support.
“It’s been a slow process to get up and running but with the launch of the website in 2019 it feels we are now in business!
“The main difficulty is charging for a service that we would like to offer for free, but with external funding we will be able to offer a sliding price range.
“Many people think they have nothing to say but this tailored service puts people at ease and ensures that it is an experience that can be: therapeutic, emotional and rewarding.”
On her website, a testimonial by Clive states: ‘Virginia is a good listener and quickly put our mother at ease. Soon Mum was talking about the past and the key events in her life from as far back as the 1930's.
“The sound quality of the recording is excellent so now we have a record of Mum's past in her own words that we can keep and can be shared easily amongst friends and family.’
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