Children take part in practical dementia awareness session

Children from Maryport Junior School have taken part in a fun and practical session in order to raise their awareness of dementia.

Dementia can affect anyone and every year more and more people are being diagnosed. The memory and later life team from Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) realised that talking to children about dementia is very important because more and more young people will have family members or loved ones affected by the condition.

Nichola Duffy Senior Occupational Therapist and her colleagues at the Allerdale memory and later life service at CPFT delivered the session at Maryport School she said: “Working within the memory team I have experienced first-hand the impact a diagnosis of dementia can have on young children and recognise the importance of education. I also understand as a mum that this message needs to be tailored for children in a fun and interactive way.”

Nichola explained to the children that dementia can affect people’s memories and using props and interactive games explained how things like photographs, tastes, smell and touch can trigger memories and help people remember. The children were asked to use the props to bring back memories of summer holidays, they ate ice cream, dressed up and took pictures and played guess the object – a game where sea shells, stones, sand and water were in enclosed boxes. All the time the children told stories of what the objects, tastes and textures reminded them of. The children were also given life story books to help write down memories with family members.

Nichola explained “The idea behind asking the children to tell stories of what the items reminded them of was to help them understand how everyday things can bring back memories. With a little bit of knowledge they can help grandma or granddad remember things like family holidays and happy times that they can share.”

Teacher Siobhan Dover from Maryport Junior School commented “The children have had a great morning with the various workshops and have learnt more about dementia. They now understand the condition better and can make things like photo albums to keep memories.”

More sessions at different schools are being arranged by the team at CPFT.