Unlocking A Loved One’s Memories

As specialists in bringing memories back to life, we were truly moved by recent news that old documentation of memories, photographs, film and music have found a new use, being thought to help trigger memories and reminiscences among people with dementia.


Bringing back memories for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia can happen in a number of ways. It may be playing a 1940s classic, spreading out photos on the coffee table, or re-playing old movies from family parties – but whatever it may be, helping recover these memories can offer extremely positive and rewarding results, for all family members.

Reminiscence therapy is defined by the APA as the use of life histories – written, oral, or both – to improve psychological well-being. The therapy is often used with older people, as a method or technique for the purpose of recalling memories, and has been a feature of recent news with the progression it has made for those suffering from dementia.

The heart-warming story of Joseph Hardman, an amateur photographer who had taken photographs between the 1930s and 1960s of daily life from all over the Lake District is a wonderful example of how captured memories can become a catalyst for those unable to remember.

When Hardman sadly passed away, his wife donated almost 5,000 glass negatives to the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry in Kendal, Cumbria, which are now being used to help a group of people living with dementia in the region. The group have been encouraged to take their own versions of his images, using them to reacquaint themselves with their lives.

The idea behind the project was simply to follow Hardman’s footsteps over a five-week period, so as Hardman did himself, the group took taxis everywhere, indulged in the tea and cake he was fond of, and visited some of his favourite places, documenting their journeys.

One place in particular was Dora’s Field in Rydal, a field made famous by the poet William Wordsworth. This was a trigger for Wordsworth’s poetry, a piece the generation would have learnt by heart as children, encouraging them to tap into deep long-term memories.

This wasn’t the only memories that were stirred; one participant re-discovered her ability to write short-hand although she hadn’t wrote that way for many years, and others were brought to recall particular events, songs and days-out that made their history.

As you can see, reminiscence therapy is a growing part of dementia care, and many deep-seating memories are often attached to emotion. Yet, with new techniques, you are able to tap into the positive emotions of their past and bring someone positive emotion to them.

For the full article on this very special project, please visit the BBC website.

Here at Video 2 DVD Transfers, we are proud to be one of the leading specialists in our industry, and are dedicated to helping you preserve those special family memories to enjoy and re-watch again and again. As a family run business, we understand the importance of quality service, and promise to take the upmost care when handling and delivering your beloved memories. For more information regarding our VHS to DVD transfer services, or to speak to one of our friendly and caring team – please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 592 433 today!