Memory Boxes, entitled 'A Time to Remember and Cherish Forever', have been launched for the residents at Aras Mhuire Community Nursing Unit in Tuam. The aim of the Memory Boxes is to recognize, value and cherish the special moments and events in the residents' lives, while keeping safe items of sentimental value in a special personalized Memory Box.
These boxes were made and designed exclusively for the residents of Aras Mhuire, and will be opened frequently throughout the year and on special occasions, such as on a birthday or an anniversary. The contents of the Box will be discussed with the resident in question, in an effort to recognize, respect and value the resident's past life and his/her achievements or disappointments, and also to acknowledge special occasions which may otherwise be forgotten.
Each wooden box contains the christian name of the resident, which is inscribed on the outside lid of the box in calligraphy style writing, accompanied by the slogan 'A time to remember and cherish forever'. On the anterior aspect of the box there are motifs representing the resident's lifestyle, thus personalizing each box. The interior of each box is lined with satin, royal blue for the male boxes and lilac for the female boxes.
Samples of items which may be included in the boxes are photographs of special events, e.g. weddings, confirmations, communions, or perhaps photos of old friends or family members. A piece of jewellery, an item of clothing, and other items such as old letters, postcards, driving licences, ration books, playing cards, spectacles, knitting needles, wool and knitting patterns may also be included.
Mary Egan, Director of Nursing, Aras Mhuire Community Nursing Unit, says: The Memory Boxes benefit the residents by stimulating their memories to recall past events, which they can then communicate to staff and family members. The individualized boxes increase their sense of personal identity and offer them an enjoyable activity with their family, residents and carers.
Ms. Egan continues: The staff at Aras Mhuire also benefit from this project, as it allows them time to get to know the 'real' person behind the face, thus increasing staff knowledge about individual residents, which ultimately provides for improved, focused personalized care. It is also an opportunity to engage family members in a unique aspect of their loved ones' care, which boosts the morale of the residents.
It is hoped that at the end of the resident's life, the special Memory Box will be presented to the resident's next-of-kin. They, in turn, will be encouraged to pass it on to the next generation, which will serve to preserve a unique image of the deceased relative and provide a fascinating glimpse of their lifestyle. In time, the contents of these boxes may be of historical or genealogical value. As a special tribute to the resident, the Memory Box may be presented at the altar as one of the gifts on the occasion of their final farewell.
Further information: Mary Garvin, HSE West Communications; Phone 091 77 5474
Last updated on: 28 / 05 / 2008