Basingstoke MP Maria Miller got the chance to see the positive effect that reminiscence therapy has on patients with dementia when she paid a visit to Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.
The Memory Box Project, a programme that involves sparking memories in people with dementia by providing them with items, sounds, smells and textures from the past, has been running across Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust since 2016.
The Wessex Heritage Trust, which runs the programme across Hampshire and Dorset, recently secured funding from the National Lottery Community Fund and the Linbury Trust, ensuring that sessions will continue until at least 2022.
To celebrate, Mrs Miller was invited to attend a memory box reminiscence session taking place on one of the elderly care wards at Basingstoke hospital.
Mrs Miller said: “These sessions are a fantastic way of supporting patients who have dementia. It was great to get the opportunity to speak to people taking part and see just how it helped them to relax and have a bit of fun.
“It’s great news that the project has secured funding for another three years. I’m really thankful to the National Lottery, other organisations like Hampshire County Council who are supporting it, and the volunteers who make the sessions happen.”
Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals, which runs Basingstoke hospital, as well as Andover War Memorial Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, added: “I’m really pleased that the memory box project has the funding it needs to continue providing this amazing service for our patients.
“Whenever patients take part in one of the sessions, we see that it makes a tremendous difference to them. It really cheers them up, helping staff to open up lines of communication, and it also helps them to regain their identity. Instead of just seeing themselves as a patient, it helps them remember other things about themselves, like when they were a parent or the job they did.”
Erin McMurtry, senior project manager at Wessex Heritage Trust, said: “Hampshire Hospitals has embraced the project and been very supportive. The staff have really made us feel like part of the team, welcoming us onto the wards and inviting us to be represented at events such as conferences and health focus talks.”