An exploration of the UK unpaid carer's world

                                                          This costs £35 and cloth mice are thrown at it

                                                                                  Your DMC can DIY it

                                                                                                                    Ross Dementia Meeting Centre - Home page here

                                                                                                                    Activities - purchases and DIY  here    

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Including exercise at least once each time your DIY DMC meets is a good idea.

A clinical trial on two groups of elderly people found those who followed an exercise programme saw a small improvement in overall thinking skills compared to those who did not exercise.

But the results suggested that the benefit may only last as long as people continued with an exercise plan.  

Your challenge is to convert "small" to "large" but you won't split your participants into two groups as you see here.  more wiki

                                                              Contents                                                                                            page under construction

1          Activities

     1.1     Activities not requiring special equipment and materials 

       1.2     DIY-made equipment and materials

2              Evaluation - to come


1      Activities                       

1.1     Activities not requiring special                            equipment and materials 

If you need to fill a space between activities, run a competition to see who can draw the funniest person.  Or make it a full session.  Give Alphie a rainbow face or draw his wife and children. 

Not so simple as you might think for some carees.  Encourages project, imagination, extraction of what memories remain. Encourages concept formation.  Will the male children be given a similar hair style?  

Encourage doodling and then colouring it in.
Look again at wiki.  Consider the  relationship between cognitive function and physical movement, in this case, manipulation of the pencils, choosing colours, starting a section - say, the tip, and then completing the petal..

  1. Singing.  We don't need to rely on instruments, song sheets, technology etc, and can enjoy benefiting from the unaccompanied human voice.  Song sheets used when singing the old favourites defeat attempts to remember.

  2. Discussion. A    "What was on the news yesterday?"    B    "Who voted for "Brexit?"    C   "Should fox-hunting (etc) be banned outright?"  "What other things would you like to do?".  Be cautious about carees in the B & C contexts. My wife I would not attend such discussions at any DMC. Ross is only the third one in existence as on 10 Feb 2017.

  3. Quizzes.  Five-item Q & A quizzes lead to "And what was the third question?"  Increase the number later. Carers are involved in separate meetings in which the matter of giving carees priority in answering, responding etc to such stimuli is discussed.

  4. Poetry - up to a point. If your team includes someone with confidence/experience, it will be free.  If not, specialist needed.  more

  5. Plenty more to come.

1.1.6  Standards and £

  1. Further to 1.1.1, I had finished a guitar recital in a non-dementia-specific care home when a new paid ( I was a vol) session leader arrived for a  song session.  He dished out song sheets which included Tipperary, Pack up your troubles etc.  Worse - out came microphone and amplifier and there were only fifteen residents.  There was no intro as to who he was or asking about what they have done before or what they would like to sing.  Worst of all - anyone who fell asleep was made to feel they shouldn't have.

  2. If you are running a DIY DMC, don't assume that anyone standing in front of your members is competent.

  3. Unless you have a remarkable team, you will need specialists and most need payment.  

  4. Unless you have a remarkable set of donors, back-stage thought needs to be applied to future funding.  If you have thoughts on two or three days a week from 10 to 4, unless your team includes a person with the time and experience and who isn't a carer, you'll need an Activities Manager.

1.1.7  Family-produced reminiscence aids

  1. Carers will discuss ways in which they can prolong the active mind of their carees beyond the walls of the DIY DMC.  

  2. At first and at home, carers might incorporate a line or two from the list into everyday discussion.  If they want to keep a record of results, fine but it's not essential.  However, records help determine the level of decline. 


    4  Introductory reminiscence aid    

        It doesn't plunge into the personal memory bank.

        You don't sit there with a clipboard and rattle off the items.

           Two or three today, three tomorrow.

  1. Truth is stranger than
  2. Time and tide wait for
  3. The more things change, the more they
  4.  Ring a ring of
  5. Remind where you were born
  6. A bird in the hand is worth
  7. If at first you don’t succeed 
  8. Many hands make 
  9. Where did we live after Edinburgh?
  10. Speed bonny boat like
  11. Land of hope and
  12. What Britannia?
  13. Pop goes the
  14. Who is the Prime Minister?
  15. Animal, vegetable or
  16. Where's there's a will there's 
  17. What is Richard's elder son called?
  18. Half a pound of tuppeny rice,     [long pause]   half a pound of   
       Note the use of one item twice - 13 & 18         


Carers will be able to discuss other ways of doing the activity.  Focus on a shared interest and see what memories remain and which can be used as a building-blocks for memory retention, formulating speech, and other aspects of caree communication.  


We are  musical.  I might say "I have a tune on the brain - Coming round the something.", - hoping to hear "mountains".

We had a motor-home until my wife's mobility deteriorated in 2014.  I avoid using "Do you remember X?"  If it's pouring, I might say "Reminds me of Lucerne", hoping for mention of when a lot of items were soaked in a deluge, or the scary cable car day.

Reminiscence therapy  here    WW2 here.  

1.1.8   Group-operated reminiscence aids

  1. Animal, vegetable or mineral? here - a reminder of a long previous panel game on TV.  4.1.15
  3. Twenty Questions here based on the 20 Questions television panel show (1949–1955)

1.2      DIY equipment and materials

          The header graphic cheese
  1. The header graphic cheese is costly and prone to puncture.  In mid-pilot, Shed Talk can be consulted.  A 4ft plywood piece is used and several holes are cut.  Yogurt pots/Tupperware pots are inserted.  Score values are painted.  A demountable strut is added to hold it an angle.  Without it, it rests on the floor according to who is using it. 

  2. Cloth mice are made by the women.

  3. Teams compete.  Seen in use at Leominster - the commercially-produced item in the header graphic - , another way has not been used.  Members pair from within caree and carer groups.  The pairs compete and winners move up the finals progression to produce a caree champion and a carer champion.  Vols could also compete.   Prizes made while lunch prep takes place.

  4. If storage is limited, it all folds flat after removing the pots.  You'd hardly want to deflate the yellow thing.

  5. The frame without its pots is used again for archery with plastic arrows.

  6. Selections above are from very long pages. More as needed.    

1.3    Droitwich list here

1.4    Google here

1.5    Commercially available products which inspire DIY

  2. Proprietary Dementia Reminiscence Activities - Happy Days here

  3. Family-produced reminiscence aids - Introductory reminiscence aid  here

  4. The team can share the work involved in DIYing such items well after the DMC has been established.

1.6     More to come  much more 

2      Evaluation - to come 

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