Memory kits

The Wool Museum also has a range of memory boxes.

The program allows for individual groups to identify specific items that may be of interest to them, for example: men’s tools or children’s toys to be available at the time of arrival.

Please contact us in advance of your visit to request a memory box be made available.

The memory boxes include a range of items from the 1930s to the 1960s, an explanation of their use and suggested activities designed to stimulate memory.

Memory boxes offered to support your visit include (please enquire before your visit):

  • Child’s play (examples of games and toys of the 1930s and 40s),

  • Men at work (examples of men’s work and hobby items and activities),

  • A woman’s day (examples of women’s domestic items and activities),

  • People at play (examples of leisure time activities from music to sport).

What to do when reminiscing

As the care giver you will need to observe a few guidelines to ensure that the experience is rewarding for everyone involved. There are many sensory stimuli within the cottage and it is important that the participant is not overwhelmed by the experience.

We encourage you to use discretion in the number of items that may be used to evoke memory. The following guidelines will enhance your experience.

Before you start here are some handy tips:

  • Familiarise yourself with the Museum’s layout – especially the location of toilets and the time required to access them.

  • Be vigilant as to time and signs of distress or restlessness.

  • Before you start, consider a plan of action if the participant becomes distressed.

  • Remain relaxed; there is no right or wrong way. Remembering is more difficult when the participant is stressed.

  • Open ended questions may aid the participant’s response rather than yes or no questions.

  • Be aware that asking questions may not be the best starting point for some participants with moderate to advanced dementia as they may fear giving the wrong answer.

  • Start with questions focused on experiencing the object (for example: what do you see/feel/hear?), to direct observation questions (for example: what was this used for?), to memory/emotion questions about responding to the object (for example: did you have one …?). Repeat comments back to the participant periodically to reinforce and validate what they have shared.

  • Do not focus on exact facts and details but focus on general memories and emotions. There are no wrong answers. The goal is to respond.

  • Be a good listener and give the participant ample time to speak or respond.

  • It does not matter if the participant discusses other topics as reminiscing often triggers a range of memories.

  • It is importance to let the participant know when the reminiscing activity is over.

Let’s start reminiscing:

  • If possible, be physically at the same level as participant.

  • Retain eye contact when possible.

  • Ensure the participant is comfortable and not distracted by background noise.

  • Your communication should be simple, pleasant and respectful.

  • Speak clearly and slowly.

  • Small, simple sentences aid in concentration rather than a long narrative.

  • Focus on one idea at a time.

  • Use a variety of ways to help the participant make full use of their senses:

  • Hand image for touch Touch - hot, cold, rough, smooth, holding, feeling, rhythm, movement
    Eye image for touch Sight - light, shade, colour and pattern
    Nose image for touch Smell - musty, sweet, sour, perfume, pine cones, saw dust
    Ear image for touch Sound   - voice, music, music box, wind chimes.

  • Look for non-verbal cues

    • Is the participant looking at the object?

    • Is the participant making gestures?

    • Does the participant appear agitated or upset?

Page last updated: Tuesday, 1 March 2022