Earlier this year, the Museum of Liverpool launched the House of Memories dementia awareness training – an innovative programme which assists social carers to help people to live well with dementia.
"Why would a museum be delivering training to carers in the health sector?", you may wonder. Well the answer is quite simple. Museums may not be clinical experts in dementia but they are quite literally ‘houses of memories’, where precious objects and stories from the past are collected, and where people come to enjoy and revisit collective memories. The museum has developed new activities such as memory boxes and memory walks, which can really make a difference to someone living with dementia, alongside their families and carers.
The response to the House of Memories training has been phenomenal. More than 1800 carers and other support workers have attended so far, but the scale of interest is not surprising. Dementia has been referred to by the Prime Minister as a ‘national crisis’, with one third of people over the age of 65 to die with the condition and over 800,000 cases in the UK today.
To tackle the crisis, the Prime Minister launched his challenge on dementia, tasking champion groups to lead the fight against this catastrophic disease. Seven months on, the champions have launched a progress report detailing some of the excellent work being done across the nation. We are delighted that House of Memories which was supported by the Department of Health, has been included in that paper (page 8).
Our Director of Education, Visitors and Communities, Carol Rogers (pictured) was invited to attend the launch of the report, which coincided with Alzheimer’s Society’s announcement of the Dementia Friends scheme, which is being backed by Number 10.
You can see the House of Memories in action here. The programme is set to run until 2015 and the museum team is looking forward to welcoming many more participants.
If you have been affected by dementia or are supporting someone living with dementia, there are some excellent organisations that can help advise you, including the Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia UK.