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Reminisence Therapy 31 January 2012

Manx National Heritage’s Reminiscence Loan Boxes In May 2011 the Department of Social Care and Manx National Heritage hosted a reminiscence training day at the Manx Museum, which was well attended by a wide range of social care professionals. The trainers for the day, Age Exchange, explored reminiscence and its ability to positively impact upon the health and well being of all members of society. The day also focused upon the particular benefits reminiscence has upon older people and those suffering from memory loss.

As a result of the training day Katie King, Community Engagement Officer for Manx National Heritage, decided to put some of the practical lessons learnt on the day to good use by creating a range of reminiscence loan boxes. The boxes contain a mix of everyday objects drawn from the Museum’s handling collections and copies of photographs from the Museum’s archives. Each box is designed to be multi–sensory to benefit all older people, with objects that can be touched, sniffed and heard! The boxes have been designed to stimulate memory across a wide range of people, with objects and images ranging from the 1940’s – 1970’s, items that will appeal to men and women, and items that are good conversation starters.

Since using the reminiscence boxes at Thie Meanagh Janet Carney said that it had been a great success and that there has also been a lot of positive feedback from the ladies and gentlemen at the Day Centre and at the other units she worked at. The ‘Reminiscence Loan Boxes’ can be borrowed by any care worker, within the public or private sector, for up to two weeks for self-led reminiscence sessions with their clients. The boxes contain explanatory notes for care workers, so they can lead the sessions confidently and responsibly. The sessions should be run with a maximum of eight clients, to ensure all participants can benefit from the experience and should not exceed an hour in length. These ‘starter’ boxes are designed to stimulate reminiscence in care homes and community settings, and after the first session care workers might find clients want to bring their own objects and photographs to subsequent sessions. The boxes are already proving popular with care workers and have been in constant use since they were created.

Manx National Heritage plans to create more starter boxes and themed boxes throughout 2012, and also offers guidance for people wanting to create their own boxes or learn more about reminiscence. Anyone interested in borrowing a box, or wanting to learn more about Manx National Heritage’s community outreach work, should contact Katie King on 01624 648035 or email

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