Taking a trip down ‘Memory Lane’

DementiaSpecialised ‘Memory Lane kits’ designed to help dementia sufferers remember parts of their past will be made available at libraries around Nottingham


The Scheme

Nottinghamshire County Council is one of the first local authorities to test-run the ‘Memory Lane kit’ scheme. Six pilot packs will be issued around the county, and if it’s successful, 50 of the kits will be made available to the 12 largest libraries in the county.

The support packs contain pictures, scrapbooks, objects, DVDs, CDs and pictures from past eras in an effort to trigger dementia patient’s memories.

Fiona Littlewood is the Principle Librarian for Resources for Nottinghamshire libraries and is in charge of stocking the libraries with books, audio books and DVDs. She says that the kits can help not only those with dementia, but their families as well.


The kits are easily accessible to everyone, and Fiona Littlewood stresses how simple it is to get hold of one.

“The whole kit bundle has a barcode on it, and you can just issue that as you would take out a book. You don’t have to qualify for anything”

The contents of the ‘Memory Lane kits’ focus on certain aspects of life which could trigger memories, like the seaside, childhood, life for men and women in the 1940s and 50s and transport.

Adam Hayward, Practice Development Dementia Nurse at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, said that the initiative serves as a “therapeutic intervention” which can alleviate some of the confusion, distress and agitation often suffered by those with dementia.

The scheme links with the county councils effort to make libraries in Nottingham more dementia friendly, and co-insides with Dementia Awareness Week, which takes place in May.

Fiona Littlewood says the ‘Memory Lane scheme’ isn’t all the libraries are doing to help dementia sufferers and their families.

“Sherwood Forrest Hospitals applied for funding which enabled us to put a small collection of books about dementia into 12 of our biggest libraries, and we’ve also produced a leaflet to go along with those”

Harry Hammett, a student in Nottingham, recently lost his grandfather to the disease. He says that the ‘Memory Lane kits’ could help people with dementia.


Dementia in Nottingham

Dementia is a degenerative disease which results in a progressive decline in multiple areas of function, including memory. There is concern in Nottingham that a large proportion of dementia sufferers are living undiagnosed.

In Nottinghamshire, there is predicted to be 9,700 that have the disease, but it is estimated that only a 1/3rd of people living with dementia in the county have been formally diagnosed.

It is expected that the over 65 population will grow by 50% by 2025 in the county. As a result of this aging population, dementia figures are predicted to grow to nearly 15,000.

The disease most commonly affects older people of both genders. However, over 200 people under the age of 65 in Nottinghamshire have been diagnosed with dementia.

It is estimated that in the UK, dementia figures are around 800,000, but only half of these know they have it. Dementia Awareness Week, run by the Alzheimer’s Society, takes place on the 18th – 24th May 2014. It’s hoped that this week will enable more people to be diagnosed earlier, giving more time for them to come to terms with  future symptoms.


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