Kerri Sparrowe, our Care Needs Co-ordinator and Dementia Lead at Haviland House, will be presenting at the Dementia Care Conference 2024 on 26 March. Kerri will be explaining the value of integrating life stories & personal histories for a person-centred approach to dementia care. 

The online conference is being held by Government Events which organises public sector conferences, training courses and case study focused insights and intelligence. 

Kerri Sparrowe said, “I’m looking forward to sharing knowledge and advice about how integrating life stories into every aspect of care can make such a difference to people with dementia. 

“We’ve developed this at Haviland House with positive results, for example, by creating memory boxes for each of the people we care for here. The carers can then go through the boxes with them, perhaps asking about an old photo of where they grew up, or a name badge from where they once worked. It also gives the carers an accessible way to connect with people.”

Kerri with Pat, one of our residents at Haviland House

Kerri, who also runs training sessions for caregivers at Haviland House, joined Guild Care as a domestic assistant before leaving to undertake a degree in psychology at Portsmouth University. She then returned to the charity and, after presenting her ideas about dementia care to the CEO and Directors, a role was created for her. 

“Everyone is different. Our unique life stories and histories shape our lives, and by connecting with those stories, we can help people with dementia to keep their sense of self and identity which is often lost.”

Working with personal life stories, Kerri and her team tailor specialist therapies to benefit the individual with comfort, companionship, stress relief, and cognitive function. Effective therapies range from robot pets, baby dolls and music, to reminiscence through personal memory boxes.

“Due to her dementia, one lady had been unable to look after her dog. When she came to Haviland House, we introduced some pet therapy and now she responds so well to the ‘pet’. It’s resulted in more positive associations rather than sadness of no longer having her dog with her.

“We also set up a small garden for a lady who used to enjoy gardening with her late husband. It’s given her back that sense of contentment from growing plants and flowers.”

“Engaging with people’s life stories and history has even been shown to help when dementia results in challenging behaviour by helping to change the person’s mood and guide them in a different direction.”

The Dementia Care Conference 2024 will provide the opportunity to learn about other advances in the sector. “Dementia is not exactly a taboo subject, but it’s not spoken about nearly enough,” Kerri concludes. “It’s often thought of as memory loss but it’s so much more than that and we need to challenge these misconceptions.”

!-- Google Tag Manager (noscript) -->