General News

Memory Boxes

We have already had two very successful events in our series Exploring and Understanding Dementia series. These meetings have been arranged in partnership with Faith in Older People (FiOP) to help us to look more closely at how we deal with dementia: as church visitors, as friends and neighbours, as carers and in ourselves. Another useful website is that of the Dementia Research Unit at Stirling University

 

2013 - from Sandra DSC01891.jpgOur third and last meeting took place on Tuesday, 26th February 2013, when Dr Mary Moffat, a leading trainer in this field, focussed on the creation of ‘Memory Boxes’.

 

About 20 of us gathered in Church House, and the introductions showed a wide Memory_Box.jpgvariety of reasons for attending. Some were caring for those with dementia at the present time, or had done so in the recent past. Some had a professional interest as a pastoral visitor, a church minister, the owner of a care at home scheme, or for a research project. Others had themselves been diagnosed with dementia and wanted to do all they could to help themselves.
 

2013 - from Sandra DSC01893.jpgAt the start the skill of listening was discussed, and in particular the importance of truly seeing and hearing the other person without constantly rehearsing one’s own responses or making judgements or assumptions. Only then will the unsaid words and feelings be caught.

Unavoidable changes occur when we need to be cared for by others. In particular there is a radical change in our ‘sense of self’. We all know that one day we will die. It is a natural unavoidable process. But in our society little store is set by making the final stage of life when we are dependent on others as good and joyous and complete as possible.

One of the ways which this can be helped is by the making of a ‘memory box’. This is a box which contains a variety of objects which trigger special memories. To illustrate this, each of us was asked to think of three special objects which would conjure up memories: one from when we were 0-7 yrs, one from 7-14 years, one from 14-21 years. Ideas ranged from books and photographs, toys and bicycles, clothes and food, to sounds and smells. We practised our listening skills by working together in pairs and silently allowing the other to describe their chosen ojects and their reasons for choosing them.

Our identity is related to what we have done and been. In old age we can become lost and forgetful. To help retain our identity and our ‘spirit’, a memory box containing meaningful memory joggers: personal items and photos and a brief written life history, to which carers and visitors can refer, can be a source of pleasure and encouragement.

The afternoon was rounded off by Mary reading a most beautiful poem ‘The Sacrament of Letting Go’ (from Seasons of Your Heart: Prayers and Reflections, by Macrina Wiederkehr).

 All agreed it had been a most helpful and encouraging time and that we had learnt a lot both from Mary and each other. Special thanks were expressed to Mary Moffat and also to those who provided the cup of tea and the delicious gingerbread!

Contact Information

Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church,
18 West Mayfield,
Edinburgh,
EH9 1TQ

0131 667 1522 / 0780 801 1234

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Scottish Charity Number: SC000785

Quotations

  • Because God is both knowable and unknowable the tension of the symbol, the multilayers of the myth and the openness of the poetic are all vital to our desire to celebrate the Mystery to whom we relate and in whom we have our being.
    Mark Oakley

  • You must love him as he is: neither God, nor spirit, nor image; even more, the One without commingling, pure, luminous ...

    Meister Eckhart

  • The purpose of our life is God's glory. However lowly a life is, that is what makes it great.
    Oscar Romero

  • Faith may justify bigotry or fanaticism, as Church history tragically witnesses. It needs a safeguard. If it is not animated as it were by the greatest of the theological virtues (love), faith can become defective.
    Thomas Norris

  • Dry not, dry not, your tears of love eternal! Only to eyes that fail to weep does this world seem so dull and dead. Dry not, dry not, those long, sad tears of love.
    Johann von Goette

  • The post modern paradigm manifests itself as a unity which preserves diversity and diversity which strives after unity.
    David Bosch

  • There is only one assertion that requires no evidence. Children are a sacred trust...Unless we care properly for our children, we shall never build a better world.
    'A Good Childhood’ The Children’s Society

  • These are only hints and guesses, hints followed by guesses; and the rest is prayer.
    'The Dry Salvages' T.S.Eliot

  • According to strict truth, God is incomprehensible, and incapable of being measured.
    Origen

  • Myth is a story about the way things never were, but always are.
    Thomas Mann

  • In the darkness ...The child of your love - and now become as the most hated one - the one You have thrown away as unwanted - unloved ..... The darkness is so dark .... I have no faith.
    Mother Teresa

  • I love the Bible. I owe my faith and my life to the Bible and its liberating message. It is in the Bible that I first met Jesus ... I too am included in God's embrace.
    Gene Robinson

  • It is this great absence that is like a presence, that compels me to address it without hope of a reply ....
    R.S. Thomas

  • Faith is not a proud self-consistent philosophy. It involves maintaining oneself between contradictions that can't be solved by analysis. It is therefore a living response to the grace of God as revealed in fragile lives.
    Mark Oakley

  • Any religion which does not say that God is hidden is not true.
    Blaise Pascal

  • The contemporary Church is losing aspects of its wide and generous memory and therefore condemning itself to become a 'swimming pool Church' - one that has all the noise coming from the shallow end.
    Mark Oakley

  • For all your doctrinal headaches take Paradox.
    Mark Oakley

  • The true vision and the true knowledge of what we seek consists precisely in not seeing, in an awareness that our goal transcends all knowledge and is everywhere cut off from us by the darkness of incomprehensibility.
    St Gregory of Nyssa

  • Death, death be hanged, the Lord has promised me that I shall live. This I believe!
    Martin Luther

  • We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life have not been put to rest.
    Wittgenstein

  • Religion is the flight of the alone to the Alone.
    Plotinus

  • Stupid clergymen appeal quite directly to a Bible passage directly understood ....
    Soren Kirkegaard

  • What is the point of the arts of reading and criticism as long as the ecclesiastical interpretation of the Bible, Protestant as well as Catholic, is cultivated as ever?
    Friedrich Nietzsche

  • A figure like Ecclesiast, rugged and luminous, chants in the dark a text that is the answer, although obscure.
    Wallace Stevens

  • Myth is the poetry of the soul.
    Sara Maitland

  • Our loss of the ability to think mythically, poetically, allegorically, creatively, theologically, and artfully is a greater threat to our religious experience than anything good scientists have to report ...
    Sara Maitland

  • In general, Zen attitude is that words and truth are incompatible, or at least that no words can capture truth.
    Douglas Hofstadter

  • 'God' is a one word poem
    Rowan Williams

  • What is today? Today is eternity.
    Meister Eckhart

  • Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things.
    Meister Eckhart

  • The most powerful hunger we have, mostly suppressed and misdirected, is the hunger for God.
    Miroslav Volf

  • We frequently judge that things are as we wish them to be, for through personal feeling true perspective is easily lost.
    Thomas a Kempis

  • Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.
    Rabindranath Tagore

  • God is the beyond in our midst.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  • 'God is not the answer, God is the question.'
    Herbert McCabe