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Is there something a family can do to help somebody who has dementia when they go into a care home?

Really good question. And we look at... There are lots of things that families can do, but one of the big ones and one of the ones that I love and also the feedback from the various care homes love is a thing called a memory box. Now, the memory box is basically a box of memory. So, it could be photographed, it could be medals, it could be letters that were written in their lifetime, anything that basically can take them back to a time in their life, things that they really enjoyed. It could be even down to a wedding cake or one of their children's certificates. There are so many things that you can add in there and each one will be different, depending on the person. But the fantastic part about that is when you actually look at someone who's gone into a care environment, it's going to be totally different to the environment that they were in. We are expecting these people to have a transition into a care home environment, something that's very, very new to them. So, what we need to do is take something with them that they can go to and go back to where they are.

Now, the challenge with dementia is that people will want to see things of their family in their outside life and maybe things that don't really associate to yourselves. So, our recommendation is start building your memory box in stage one dementia or when they're first diagnosed and really, really start building it, because it is such an important part and will also help calm them down if they're feeling distressed, and maybe even help them focus on their family while they're in the care environment.

So, with someone who has lost maybe their husband or their wife or their child, how, and they're asking if maybe they've forgotten, and they ask for this, their husband, for example, could the memory box be used in that example?

In some ways. The challenge is that people have what's known as a tic. And it's basically where their brain gets stuck. And you find a lot with Alzheimer's, especially, that people will repeat things over and over and over again. Patience is the key, obviously, but quite often, if someone's asking for a loved one that you know has died, one of the biggest faults that we have is that people sometimes will say, "I'm sorry, they're dead, I'm sorry, they're not with us anymore, they're not here, you're not at home anymore," because they're trying to... They're not trying to be nasty, but they're not communicating in the right way and they will be distressing. One of the things we can do is take them to a photo album, take them to the memory box, take them to where that person is now, even though they may have passed away, even though they may not be a part of their lives anymore. It's quite important that they can actually see them.