Artefacts from bygone eras are being requested by staff at the Poplars, Southmoor Hospital, Hemsworth, to help trigger memories from patients’ past.

The Poplars is a community unit for the elderly, caring for older people with dementia and is planning to hold ‘reminiscence sessions’ for its patients to help remind them of their past. By using old items as ‘props’, recall of the past is actively encouraged and stimulated.

However, staff at the Poplars first need to build up a collection of items and are asking members of the public to look deep into basements and attics to see if they can help in providing old items that are no longer in use. They are looking for any objects from the 1940s/1950s, such as; army memorabilia, household items such as toasting forks and mangles, photos, miner’s hats, lamps and snap tins. Any items, which would help remind patients of the past, would be welcome.

Reminiscence sessions would be held in groups as well as on a one-to-one basis and would help provide a focus on the past and promote social interaction amongst patients. Anecdotal and research based evidence suggests that older people enjoy talking about the past and sharing their experiences with others. Therefore, reminiscence, used in a structured way, can help achieve a sense of well being whilst also increasing empathy between the healthcare worker and patient.

Senior staff nurse at the Poplars, Janette Mulroe, explained, ‘Reminiscence is a therapeutic way of stimulating confused, disorientated and memory-loss patients and helps them relearn basic facts about themselves and their environment. We really would appreciate any items that members of the public feel they could spare to help an elderly person recall memories of their past’.

Anyone wishing to donate items can contact the Poplars on 01977 465690, who will then arrange for collection.


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