Memory Lane Project at Canwick House in Collaboration with The University of Lincoln

In collaboration with The University of Lincoln, the Memory Lane Project at Canwick House consisted of students from the university volunteering to pair up with our residents in order to provide reminiscence activities and create sensory boards.

The project began in January of this year and wrapped up in May. Students from sports and exercise science, health and social care, social work, nursing and psychology courses volunteered for this project, which was overseen by Rachael Mason and Rachael Hunt, both from The University of Lincoln.

Students from The University of Lincoln working with Canwick House residents on the Memory Lane Project

The students devised activities and developed the ‘life stories’ of our residents, culminating in a ‘sensory board’ depicting our residents’ unique and individual histories. Participation in this project was voluntary on both ends, and the helpful staff at Canwick House helped to guide both students and residents in their communal collaboration.

This project was not only successful in the development of sensory boards for our participating residents, but wonderful relationships were developed between the students, the staff and our lovely residents. Additionally, reminiscence work has shown to enhance elderly care, particularly those suffering with dementia. In order to enhance this experience, each participating student was given the opportunity to enrich and customise their reminiscence projects according to participating residents’ preferences and levels of comfort in sharing information about their lives.

Many new friendships were formed during the creation of the Memory Lane Project at Canwick House

Participating residents were allowed to keep their reminiscence projects as a way to allow future employees of Canwick House to have a unique insight into their lives, thereby providing a base for building strong and fruitful relationships.

The project culminated with a special event at Canwick House which celebrated the completion of the sensory boards and at which participating students, residents, staff, and organisers were all present and were able to enjoy the finished sensory boards produced by the hard work of students and residents.

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Becoming Tech Savvy and Improving Your Mental Health

A new study by the Mayo Clinic has found that ‘silver surfers’ are 42% less likely to develop mental health problems and dementia, compared to those who avoid using technology.

As more than 850,000 people in the UK suffer from dementia, it is now more important than ever to learn of different ways, which can help keep us mentally healthy. 

It has been found that already around 63% of adults over 70 spend anywhere from 11-30 hours per week online, which could potentially lead to an increasing number of people maintaining good mental health well into old age.

The study was conducted by the Mayo Clinic and included over 2,000 adults over 70 in the US. Over a four year period, researchers looked at how everyday activities can prevent mental decline.

Their research found that mentally stimulating activities can help build a ‘cognitive reserve’ of new brain cells and neural connections which in turns offsets the deterioration caused in the brain by ageing.

“The results show the importance of keeping the mind active as we age.”

Dr Janina Krell-Roesch, Mayo Clinic

Simply reading a magazine regularly was found to lower the chance of neurodegeneration by 30 per cent. Completing crosswords or other puzzles reduces the chance of neurodegeneration by 14 per cent. Additionally, it was found that social connections also made a difference in maintaining brain health and preventing neurodegeneration as those participants who engaged in social activities were found to be 23% less likely to develop memory problems than those who didn’t.

For more tips on staying mentally healthy, click here. 

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7 Tips on Staying Mentally Healthy

As we age, we more or less expect the decline of our physical health as our bodies grow weary through age. However, just like we can take steps to maintain good physical health through nutrition and exercise, it is also important that we address our mental health and ways in which we can stay alert, and stay mentally healthy well into old age.

Mental health is important at every age, and being mentally health just means that we maintain an overall sense of emotional wellbeing. Maintaining our mental health can help us forestall alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia and help us deal with day-to-day challenges with a positive outlook.

Here are some ways that can help you do just that:

1.Keep an open mind

Oftentimes after retirement we find ourselves with the challenge of not knowing what to do that doesn’t involve going to work.Therefore it is essential that we keep an open mind to this change and rediscover the things that we always wanted to do. Retirement should be fulfilling, and you alone have the power to make it that.

2. Maintain Connections with those you Care about

We all feel lonely at one time or another, but loneliness shouldn’t be a characteristic of old age. Take this time to write down all the people which you have been meaning to contact and do it. Make family time a priority, and nurture friendships.

3. Read

Reading magazine, books and newspapers is a great way to pass the time and stay connected with current affairs. If you love reading, joining a book club can be a great way to make connections and make new friends.

4. Take up a hobby

Think of what it is that’s always interested and intrigued you, but you’ve never had time to take it up, and do it. Whether it’s learning how to play an instrument, taking up painting, knitting, or working on cars, whatever you’ve always been curious about, now is the best time to set forth and learn.

5. Make a contribution to your community

Research a cause that’s important to you and find ways in which you can help. Whether you’re contributing your time to a charity, working on a community garden, or simply helping a friend – doing something nice for others is the joy that keeps on giving.

6. Maintain stress levels low

Learn what triggers stress, anxiety and depression and learn about healthy ways to deal with these episodes; whether it’s calling a friend or family member, going for a walk, or doing something to distract your mind. After all, good mental health is our overall goal.

7. Keep a regular routine that includes plenty of sleep

Maintaining a routine to your day is key to staving off feelings of loneliness and anxiety. Make sure you allot plenty of time for sleep to give your body the chance to refresh and renew itself. People who are sleep-deprived or exhausted tend to be less able to deal with life’s challenges, therefore getting a good night’s sleep should be a priority.

These are just some of the things that you can take up now to help you stay mentally healthy at any age. Just like our physical health, staying mentally alert and happy is key in maintaining a good quality of life and overall health.