'Sound Memories' are helping those with dementia
A radio station dedicated to engaging people living with dementia and help them reminisce about days gone by has hit the airwaves.
Launched by Care Award winner Cheryl Beer, an ethnographic poet and community artist from Carmarthenshire, the station helps create vocal memories for people living with dementia and their families to share with others.
Cheryl was inspired to launch the radio station after meeting tenants at our Cwm Aur Retirement Complex in Llanybydder: “Sound Memories Radio has been set up as a pilot practice based research project by me, and 27 volunteers that I met and recruited from throughout Carmarthenshire. It’s a great way of enabling the older community to help each other whilst creating their own wonderful life memory keepsake for them and their family and/or carers.”
The radio station evolved from an idea to use an online resource to create a library of digital stories and store them on a blog that others could listen to.
“The group very politely asked me what language I was speaking!” she said “Many didn’t know what a Blog or Digital Story was. At our next meeting in Cwm Aur I took in lots of resources as examples and we discussed how similar it was to when we sat around listening to the radio as a family in the 1940’s and 50’s. This was the birth of our online Sound Memories Radio.”
Cheryl has carried out several research projects our residential and care homes and won the Wales Care Award in the category of Excellence in Dementia Care last year for practice-based research on applied arts and dementia for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which now forms part of its “A Better Life” campaign.
Arts can have numerous benefits for people living with dementia, storytelling and reminiscence is particularly successful when a person’s short-term memory has started to deteriorate but their memories from years ago remain intact. Recording and playing back their memories can help engage a person with dementia and improve their quality of life.