Reminiscence project to support elderly

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A PROJECT using storytelling and reminiscence to improve the lives of isolated older people in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust area has been launched.

Reminiscence Network Northern Ireland launched their four year ‘Sharing Memories, Building Communities’ project – funded with £416,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Out: Connecting Older People programme.

The project, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, is a partnership between the Reminiscence Network Northern Ireland, (RNNI) and the Northern Trust’s Health Improvement/Community Development and Day Care Services.

It aims to address the needs and issues affecting older people with disabilities including, social isolation, loneliness, depression, low self esteem, limited support relationships, minimal social interactions and poor mental health and wellbeing that impacts on physical health.

It will establish creative reminiscence groups and home based life story book work with older people with disabilities living in the Northern Trust area.

This includes those who have undergone the 16 week re-ablement programme within day care, who on completion, may then be referred into the ‘Sharing Memories Building Communities’ programme.

Three dedicated reminiscence workers have been appointed and will work within six day centres (Wilson House in Broughshane, Antrim, Gloucester Park in Larne, Inniscoole in Newtownabbey, Magherafelt and Cookstown) to promote one to one life story book work in the service users own homes and group sessions.

Commenting on the launch of the new project, Frank Hewitt, Big Lottery Fund NI Chairman said: “The Big Lottery Fund’s £20 million Reaching Out: Connecting Older People programme is supporting a range of vital projects that are transforming the lives of older people in our communities who at risk of isolation, depression, mental and physical ill health and low self esteem. Our funding is supporting those older people who need our help the most.”

The ‘Sharing Memories, Building Communities’ project will support some of the most isolated older people in Northern Ireland, helping to improve their lives and boost their opportunities.”