University of Oxford, UK
Title: Making memories matter
Helen Fountain is the Reminiscence Officer at the Oxford University Museums Partnership. Following University, she began working in the Social Care sector in 1997, working with vulnerable young people at Coventry YWCA and with homeless people at Coventry Cyrenians, followed by a role with Coventry City Councils’ Social Services Department commissioning and monitoring support services for elder people. A part time role at the Herbert Art Gallery began to inspire the idea of the creative potential of partnerships between elder people and the heritage sector. Following her Master’s Degree in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester, she took up her current post in 2009. The role of Reminiscence Officer for Oxford University Museums has offered fantastic opportunities to devise and deliver museum activities for older people including a reminiscence outreach services, bespoke reminiscence projects, community exhibitions, intergenerational events and working with local NHS Partners to deliver reminiscence activities to older people in hospital settings. In 2015 she, along with the Oxford Institute for Population and Ageing carried out research into the impacts of her work, the findings are due to be published later this year. She is also a Dementia Champion with the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends scheme.
Oxford University Museums Partnership has an excellent track record of delivering museum community engagement services to elder people in Oxford and Oxfordshire. The seminar will focus on how reminiscence and museum activities are used in a variety of ways (including oral history projects, artistic projects, drama projects and music projects) to engage with older people living with Dementia in community and healthcare settings. The seminar will offer delegates the opportunity to participate in practical skills sharing which will equip them with techniques for using reminiscence as a therapeutic activity for people living with Dementia. It will focus on the positive impact that participation in such activities can have on wellbeing, both for the older person and their carers, drawing on UK research findings to make the case for reminiscence as an activity for enhancing quality of life for elder people living with Dementia and their carers.
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