Youngsters’ idea helps dementia patients

When dementia strikes, many can be left wondering what steps to take next.

But 75 year-old Chrissy Allan from Girvan who is fighting the early stages of the disease has been given major assistance.

That’s down to four South Ayrshire Council apprentices who have come up with a innovative idea to help Chrissy’s memory.

The quartet of Danielle McPherson, Hayley Daniel, Leanne Milligan and Rebecca Swan created a living diary with memories of Chrissy’s life to show her.

However, they didn’t simply do this on a piece of paper; instead they used an Ipad to show Chrissy audio and video clips to help jog her memory.

And Chrissy, a client of the day care centre, has been delighted with the girls work.

She said: “This has really helped my memory and looking back at my photos, I was actually not bad looking!

“It looks different on the screen and it’s really helped me remember things. My lassies would have loved it!

“I was like the Queen, sitting there, being filmed and interviewed by the girls. My John would have teased me about it, but you know what? He’d have had a go himself!”

The four girls were rewarded for their scheme by winning the Innovation Award and the Overall Winners Award from Ayrshire Business in the Community (ABIC).

Danielle said: “This has been so totally worthwhile. I’ve learned a lot about Chrissy and myself and have loved every minute of this challenge. I especially enjoyed seeing how an iPad and a computer can make such a difference to someone in the early stages of dementia, rather than just using paper and photos. Chrissy is a fantastic character and it was a real joy working with her.”

Hayley (17) added: “When I came to the project, I learned dementia is now affecting almost every family in the country. As well as that, it’s getting more common, so I was really pleased to be part of a challenge to create a memory bank and a record of Chrissy’s life, which she and her family can use to help them look back at and remember the best times in her life.”

Leanne (19) said: “When the dementia diary idea was explained and I understood the purpose of it I was really keen to take part. Making the diary seemed like a brilliant thing to do as dementia is a cruel illness. We really wanted to help Chrissy by helping her to remember things about herself and the happy times in her life. It was very moving at times and I’m so pleased to have been part of this.”

Rebecca (19) said: “I was very happy to take part in this project as I have already some experience of working with people with dementia. Working so closely with Chrissy gave me a much better insight to what dementia really is. It’s inspired me to have a career in the care profession and the diary is one of the best things I’ve ever been involved with”.

Chrissy’s grandson Steven Allan added: “The apprentices have been great with my granny and she’s enjoyed every minute of the diary project.

Councillor Rita Miller, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio for Social Services said: “The dementia diary is a fantastic idea and Chrissy has enjoyed working with four Apprentices whose combined ages are the same as her own.