By Kenny McLachlan, Care Logistics Manager, Funeralcare
In 2017, I took my first Memory Box on a care home visit. Based on the response received from the residents, I knew I’d struck gold with an idea that could easily be rolled out nationally. Fast forward to now, and they’re much more established. In Scotland alone approx. 1,650 personal Memory Boxes have been given out to care homes, socials groups and hospitals, so people can fill them with their own keepsakes.
Continuing the momentum, I’ve invested lots of time working with colleagues, Member Pioneers, and local organisations, to find ways to adapt the Memory Box initiative, and to reach out and connect with more people by trialling some new initiatives.
Recently I attended a daycare centre with a local folk singer, where we spent sometime looking through ‘Granny’s Handbag’. This involved a real carpet bag filled with all the items a stereotypical ‘granny’ would need, ranging from bingo pens and hair rollers, through to embroidered handkerchiefs and plastic rain hoods. Each item was modelled by the audience before we broke into a rousing rendition of a well-known Scottish song – Ye Canny Shove Yer Granny Off The Bus! It was a really fun way to bring some energy into the room. In fact, everyone enjoyed it so much they gave the singer a round of applause.
I’ve also been planning a Children’s Memory Box. This idea is to give individual boxes to children and they can fill them with their own special items as they grow up. It’s then there should they eventually need it when they’re older. I’d love to develop the idea further, and work with schools and care homes in our local communities to bring together children and older people. It will be a really powerful tool comparing the differences between the memory boxes from varying generations, and it will spark some interesting conversations.
Thanks to my work in the community, I’ve built a strong relationship with Alzheimer Scotland. Lots of colleagues have undertaken Dementia Friends training, and following their refurbishments, our care homes have been officially awarded Dementia Friendly Accreditation. This means that our locations feature in an online directory, which helps potential clients when they’re looking for safe places that meet the needs of anyone living with Dementia.
I love every second of my job and could spend hours talking to people about it, so it came as a real shock to receive an invite from Buckingham Palace. I’d been nominated by a lady I’d done some fundraising for and she wanted to thank me. My wife and I were able to enjoy a lovely Garden Party in Holyrood Palace, with Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and The Queen herself, all in attendance!
The nature of the funeral industry is one of empathy and compassion, so it makes me really proud to know that a simple idea like the Memory Box can bring so much joy to people in different ways, often taking them back to relive some of their happiest memories.