Gunnersbury Park Museum holds monthly arts and reminiscence classes for people living with dementia and, to date, the interest has been high.
The museum’s team has been working with Smoking Apples theatre company to run monthly Recollection sessions that enhance the social skills of the residents and, ultimately, enable them to create their own artwork independently. By keeping their minds, and memories, active in this way it can help to slow the effects of dementia.
The sessions run for two hours and involve exploring the museum’s collections and sharing stories of the old days before working on art of their own. There is a cost of £2 which includes refreshments. Find out more via www.visitgunnersbury.org/recollection.
Another workshop in the borough helping residents with dementia in a similar way is based at the Michael Flanders Resource Centre in Acton. The residents experiment with different art forms of their choice and make progress on their work over time.
“The work they produce rehabilitates them in the sense that when they started with the artwork they remember things and it keeps their mind clear for them to continue to be independent,” said Deanie Charlton, a day care support worker at the centre.
“Michael Flanders Centre is a place away from home and it’s an eye opener for them and lets them feel included and they’re doing something for themselves.”
‘I never thought I’d have the ability to draw’
One resident who has produced an amazing collection of artwork from being involved in the workshops is 72-year-old Abdul Halim.
“I never thought I would have the ability to draw before I came to Michael Flanders,” Abdul said. “I started drawing and my passion grew, and now I have produced an entire wall of drawings about aspects of my life and family.
“Wasting time is the worst thing we can do so being involved in the workshops is very beneficial. Every week I try to progress my skills along with the other people in the class. It’s about helping one another and creating work that we all can enjoy.
“The staff at Michael Flanders have been amazing and I have to thank them personally for supporting me and others at the centre who are part of the workshops.”
If families or carers want to refer someone to the Michael Flanders Resource Centre, call the ‘contact centre’ at Ealing Council on 020 8825 5000.
The centre also runs a Forget Me Not Café for people with Dementia and their families one Sunday a month. If you would like further information, call Surinder Dhesi on 020 8825 8118.