Students help OAPs tell stories

SHEFFIELD University students are helping elderly care home residents with dementia find their voice - by helping them tell their life stories.

English undergraduates have teamed up with social enterprise company Learning for the Fourth Age on the initiative, which is part of the Storying Sheffield project.

Students have been visiting care homes across Sheffield using images, objects, crafts and books in their one-to-one sessions to stimulate memories and conversation.

Student Isla Badenoch, aged 21, said: “You hear so much about dementia as an illness but you rarely get to hear from the people affected by it.

“Rather than focusing solely on their medical conditions, we wanted to give the people we were working with the chance to talk about themselves and tell us various stories and anecdotes.”

Course leader Dr Brendan Stone said: “It has been rewarding and remarkable to see the way relationships have been formed.

“The residents look forward to the visits from the students. It’s remarkable how the students have engaged with this work in such a thoughtful way.”

Jason Briggs, of L4A, said: “While many of our residents are not always aware of what is happening around them, giving them this one-to-one engagement and time to talk about themselves is really important.

“One man is telling the students his life story and that’s important to restoring his self-esteem.

“The residents are aware the students are coming and prepare notes and look forward to the sessions.”