House of Memories

House of Memories brings a 'Sense of Summer' to local care home residents


From left to right - Care home resident, Moira O'Shaughnessy, Partner at FPC, Martina Barr from James Dixon Court and Emma Riley, House of Memories Marketing Officer stand in the garden of James Dixon Court with a basket of reminiscence gardening-themed items

From left to right - A resident at James Dixon Court, Moira O'Shaughnessy, Partner at FPC, Martina Barr, Service Manager from James Dixon Court and Emma Riley, House of Memories Marketing Officer. Image courtesy Sefton New Directions.

For the summer of 2018, House of Memories has developed a new range of seasonal ‘Sense of Summer’ memory baskets to enable carers and people living with dementia to enjoy sharing summer time memories together, and to stimulate communication about the past.

The items in the ‘Sense of Summer’ memory baskets have been inspired by the great outdoors in the summertime, bringing together items related to gardening, home-grown produce and summer picnics.

Inside the baskets, there are objects for reminiscence, garden-themed activities, and information about planning gardening and outdoors projects to improve the health and wellbeing of people living with dementia.


The baskets contain multi-sensory items that will work well for people with different levels of sensory communication, including items that will stimulate smell, hearing, touch and sight – items such as scent flasks, an interactive bird song book, a felt picnic blanket and garden-themed CDs.

In addition, we have included a number of resource cards to help carers make the most of the new resource, including information on the principles of reminiscence, the objects inside the baskets and a risk assessment for safe use.

Time spent outdoors, whether gardening or enjoying the scenery and fresh air, is beneficial for people’s health and wellbeing. Gardens are popular places to relax and can offer therapeutic benefits for people living with dementia. With this in mind we have also included tips for developing safe outdoor activities for people living with dementia, as well as a ‘Useful links’ sheet which signposts the person living with dementia to specialist support.

From left to right - Emma Riley, House of Memories Marketing Officer, two care home residents, Ian Taylor, Sefton New Directions (behind), Moira O'Shaughnessy, Partner at FPC, and Martina Barr from James Dixon Court.

From left to right - Emma Riley, House of Memories Marketing Officer, two care home residents, Ian Taylor, Sefton New Directions (behind), Moira O'Shaughnessy, Partner at FPC, and Martina Barr, Service Manager from James Dixon Court. Image courtesy Sefton New Directions.

James Dixon Court Service Manager, Martina Barr, added: “There’s nothing our residents like more than to get together and chat about the past, so this memory basket is very much appreciated and will certainly get a lot of use.”

The ‘Sense of Summer’ memory basket project is sponsored by Ainsdale-based Financial Planning Corporation (FPC), a supporter of a number of other House of Memories projects including the memorabilia-packed memory suitcases which can be borrowed from the Museum of Liverpool.

Last year, we developed 125 Christmas-themed memory boxes to distribute to care homes in Liverpool, and this year we decided that the gifting of the new ‘Sense of Summer’ memory baskets should reach out further.

Inspired by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s pledge to build a dementia-friendly Liverpool City Region, signed by representatives from across the Liverpool City Region at the LCR Health and Wellbeing Summit in February 2018, we invited local authorities in Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens, and the Wirral to nominate one care home in each borough to receive a ‘Sense of Summer’ memory basket.

From left to right - Hannah Ward, CCG Lead for Dementia, NHS Wirral CCG and Emma Riley, House of Memories Marketing Officer with a 'Sense of Summer' basket

From left to right - Hannah Ward, CCG Lead for Dementia, NHS Wirral CCG and Emma Riley, House of Memories Marketing Officer.

The baskets were gifted to James Dixon Court in Sefton (pictured), Greenfields Residential Home in St Helens, Montgomery Care Home in Knowsley, and Ferndale Mews in Halton. The Wirral basket has been placed in the community and will be placed via a Care Homes Network Group.

Initial feedback on the memory baskets has been wonderful and we hope that the residents will enjoy the baskets as much as we enjoyed creating them.


Tags:  sense of summer, house of memories, summertime, memory basket, dementia, gardening, therapeutic, outdoors, dementia-friendly pledge, liverpool city region, halton, knowsley, sefton, st helens, wirral