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23rd Jun, 2021

Digital ‘life stories’ helping to improve care for dementia patients

Rob George 21st May, 2021

A NEW bid to help people with dementia and their families in Herefordshire and Worcestershire to build their own digital life story has been launched by health chiefs.

Life Stories Herefordshire and Worcestershire was a concept initially developed in partnership between Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust and Worcester City Council with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

It has since been expanded and can now be accessed by people who live across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

The scheme allows people to create and capture their family history by uploading images, text or sounds of what’s important to them like where they lived, worked or what they enjoy.

These can be used to create an individual digital life story book. Although Life Stories can be used by anyone living locally, the aim is that this will have particular benefits for people with dementia, and older people by connecting through sharing stories.

Dr Natasha Lord, lead clinical psychologist for Older People’s Mental Health at the trust said: “Creating a digital life story has recognised benefits for all of our wellbeing and can be an interesting exercise for anyone keen to capture a record of what’s important to them.

“But it has particular clinical and emotional benefits for older people, people with dementia and their families and we are really excited about using Life Stories as part of the overall care we provide to people.

“Furthermore, the digital life story books are also already being used more widely by care agencies, housing and care homes with recognisable benefits of enhancing relationships, and improving a person’s overall wellbeing and quality of life,” she said.

In Worcester, to support with the Life Stories project, Worcester City Council have launched, Know Your Place Worcester which gives access to hundreds of archive photos, historic maps and pieces of data about the city. These can be accessed through the Life Stories platform to help create a digital life story.

Sheena Payne-Lunn, the council’s Historic Environment Record Officer said: “The Know Your Place Worcester site will help people to rekindle memories by looking at archive photos of streets, shops and prominent places.

“It will also be a powerful tool for anyone who wants to research family history, explore local archaeology or find out about how previous generations lived in their street or neighbourhood.”

Visit https://life-stories.hacw.nhs.uk or https://kypworcester.org.uk for more.

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