People with dementia at the Beechdale Ward in Halifax have taken part in a special activity by theatre company 2TourTheatre designed to engage their memories.
2TourTheatre is a touring theatre company specialising in movement based performance. As part of their work with the ward they have run a ‘Memory box’ installation for patients and staff offering a sensory experience that represents memories patients shared during research prior to the event.
The installation contained clothing, food, sounds, smells, films, furniture all designed to offer an uplifting experience that the audience could explore in their own time, without any pressure to engage.
Most of the material came from the patients themselves and included smells like perfume, tastes that they associate with happy memories and sounds of their past such as songs. At the same time as experiencing the objects there was a live performance by the theatre company re-enacting the memories of the patients.
People admitted to acute admission units within the Trust’s older people’s services such as the Beechdale Ward often have great difficulty communicating their experiences. Events like this help staff discover more about a patient’s past, leading to better communication and an understanding of a person for their future care.
Occupational therapist Kath Nichols who visited the installation said, "The work is really fantastic and listening to the memories of the patients was really moving."