Memory boxes help Bethanie Gwelup aged-care residents feel right at home after move

Shirley Boyd with the memory box outside her room at Bethanie Gwelup.
Picture: Martin Kennealey   www.communitypix.com.au d469431
Shirley Boyd with the memory box outside her room at Bethanie Gwelup. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d469431

TREASURED family photos stand proudly outside Shirley Boyd’s new room at the Bethanie Gwelup aged care facility.

Ms Boyd had been living at Bethanie Warwick for 16 years before the facility closed and all 57 residents, as well as the staff, moved to Gwelup.

She said while “Warwick was nice”, she was excited to move.

“Its beautiful here, it really is,” she said.

“Some of us came over before we actually moved and I picked this room out.”

Because Ms Boyd is in the aged care facility, she has a ‘memory box’ outside her room.

These have been introduced to give a personal touch and to provide a talking point for residents to share some of their history with each other and with staff.

“In my memory box, I have photos of my family, my mum and my sister and me,” Ms Boyd said.

“My mother died when she was 84.

“She made the shell piece for me that I also have in there.”

The memory boxes have also been placed outside the rooms of dementia residents to help them identify which room is theirs.

Bethanie dementia consultant Michelle Harris said the concept of memory boxes had come from research in the UK and the US.

“It showed that as dementia progresses, people have much greater comfort from wearing clothes that look familiar to them or look at familiar objects that are well known to them, rather than struggling to adjust to new possessions,” she said.

Bethanie will be redeveloping the Warwick site and is currently reviewing different options.

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