Memory Box Sessions
Why volunteer for Memory Box?
Laughing: More than anything, our participants love to have a laugh and a giggle about the past, the present and enjoy spending time with you and with their peers. A friendly, caring attitude is all you need to encourage lively conversation.
Stimulating: We have such a large range of objects, pictures, sounds and smells you will never be without something that will pique the interest of even the most reserved participants.
Engaging: It is so important to our ethos that participants are able to touch, handle, use and really get stuck in to looking through our collections, this is the key to reminiscence and makes is so much easier to get everybody involved.
Learning: One of the best things about Memory Box is that the participants always end up teaching you much more than you are teaching them. You are there to facilitate conversation, but the amazing things you learn about the past is a massive bonus!
Recovering: Lots of people that you meet may be frail, have limited mobility or recovering from an accident or illness. This can be a long and lonely road for some people and having an hour to chat, reminisce and forget any negative feelings massively improves well-being
Reminiscing: Finally of course, the act of remembering. Our participants will all be different in how much they are able to remember and their confidence in doing so. Everyone will remember something, and we encourage all participants to tell us a little about their lives in a safe and friendly environment. People living with dementia are people first, and have had a huge range of experiences. They never fail to have some fantastic stories and memories to share with a little help from you.
As a volunteer, the aim is to eventually feel confident in using our collection of Memory Boxes to reminisce with participants in hospitals, care homes and groups. This role is extremely flexible and can be done on your own, or with a friend. A sessions lasts 45 mins to one hour. Typically you will have an appointment with a venue and be welcomed there 10-15 mins before starting to get settled. Venues will provide a table to help present things, and often a smaller group will be positioned around the table for a more intimate conversation. Staff will be on hand to help you pass around the items, show pictures and play music and sounds whilst you facilitate everyone sharing their memories and stories with each other. Sometimes we also add games such as matching games or quizzes to ‘break the ice’ and keep things fun and varied.
Every box has a reminiscence guide that will help you time the session, ask appropriate questions and never run out of things to say. Staff will always be on hand to help you with people’s names and to assist with any needs they have. After a few sessions it becomes second nature and is a very enjoyable and rewarding task. An hour will soon fly by.
At the end of the session we ask you to pack away and thank the residents for their time. Often we will collect feedback using a simple form, and you may want to offer to help people if they have trouble writing or holding a pen. We are always on hand for a chat after a session to let us know how it went, or if there are no problems, a simple email or text to log the session is absolutely fine.
If you feel like this is something you may be interested in please get in touch. We can book sessions around your availability, hours are flexible and we are hugely grateful to everyone who gives time to the project. We will always acknowledge the time you have put into the project and welcome you to any other events or gatherings in your area to help you meet other volunteers and have fun!