‘Moments in Time’ hopes to inspire others to realise that no matter what dementia is, or what dementia does, reminiscence and nostalgia can make a person feel valued for who they are and the stories they have to share.
The project is run by the Sid Valley Memory Café, an organisation which supports people with memory problems and their families and carers. It uses heritage to improve lives and unite people living with dementia with others who share memories of growing up, living and working in the seaside town of Sidmouth, Devon. In this way, it reduces isolation, encourages new friendships and triggers long-forgotten memories – since older memories will often remain in tact, even when the capacity to ‘make’ new memories and recall very recent events is lost or severely impaired.
Through the project, people living with dementia and their carers have taken part in a wide variety of reminiscence trips to heritage sites, enjoyed talks from local historians, handled props and artifacts from their childhood and shared many, many stories. Volunteers have been trained in reminiscence work and a lasting and important legacy has been created: the Moments in Time Memory Book and website. This collection of unique and entertaining, local stories has become a wonderful local history collection for the wider community. ‘Moments in Time’ has also helped to create a dementia-friendly generation: college students have been trained in dementia awareness and taken part in intergenerational reminiscence sessions and visits to the Memory Café.