Everton in the Community and Mersey Care NHS Trust have launched an innovative new programme to support people with dementia.
The Blues’ official charity and Mersey Care have developed a unique initiative, known as Pass on the Memories, for patients with memory loss.
The weekly scheme, which was officially launched by Everton legend Graeme Sharp at Goodison Park today, uses a range of interventions, including sporting reminiscence workshops, custom-made life story memory books and calendars, day trips to local places of interest and social activities, to help people to share important memories and create new ones.
One particular tool used in the sessions is an audio CD containing interviews and stories from past Everton players, including Dixie Dean and Graeme Sharp, who was on hand at the launch to see the programme in action and help make some new memories for the participants.
Speaking at the event, Everton in the Community Ambassador Sharp said: “It’s fantastic to see Everton using its history to help people in the present.
“Unfortunately, my mother suffered from dementia during the last couple of years of her life and I realised how difficult it is for people who have it and their families. It’s important that the football club, and people in general, realise what dementia’s all about.
“But when you’ve had it first hand and been involved with family or friends who’ve suffered from the disease, you realise how bad it is. If we can help in any way then that’s what we want to do. Everton Football Club holds a lot of memories for people, if we can bring people along here and help them in any way we can, then we’re more than happy to do that,” added Sharp.
At the launch event participants were given the chance to ask Graeme about this career, which was an opportunity enjoyed by all.
Earlier this week Everton in the Community and Mersey Care supported the launch of Liverpool PCT and Liverpool City Council’s Year of Dementia Awareness campaign, which was attended by HRH Prince Charles.
There are 800,000 people living with dementia in the UK and by 2021 this number is set to rise to over one million. More than 60 per cent of all care home residents, aged over 65, have a form of dementia, which is a terminal condition. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia, affecting 62 per cent of those diagnosed.
The Year of Dementia Awareness campaign aims to develop an understanding of dementia and work towards creating dementia-friendly environments in work places, public areas and communities, with Pass on the Memories being just one initiative to help achieve these goals.
Mersey Care's project manager, Matty Byrne, said: “This programme will help people with mild to moderate memory loss. It enables service users and their carers to meet weekly at Goodison Park where they are supported by our health professionals and group facilitators from Everton in the Community.
“It is a unique opportunity to use memorabilia from Merseyside’s sporting and cultural history for reminiscence therapy. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Everton in the Community on this innovative new approach.”
Everton hope that other clubs will follow its lead and a similar programme is already being developed for North Sefton residents to be hosted at Southport Football Club.
The Sporting Memories Network was instrumental in helping to develop the sporting reminiscence resources and expertise that are utilised in the Pass on the Memories dementia programme, following their pioneering work in Scotland.
For more information about Pass on the Memories, call 0151 530 5253.