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Older people have been reminiscing about how they first met their partners, and other major milestones in their lives, in a move which has been shown to achieve significant improvements in memory for some.

Residents at Willows care home in Perthcelyn, Mountain Ash, Mid Glamorgan joined family members and friends and recalled their school days, first jobs, wartime experiences and the births of their children.

Added to the group reminiscence sessions, dancing and competitions – events also organised by the home – were intended to increase overall feelings of wellbeing.

Many Priory Adult Care-run (formerly Amore Care) care homes organise group reminiscence sessions.

Reminiscence therapy, as it is technically known, is said to be able to increase the cognitive recall and agility of the mind by up to 12 per cent, according to research by the University of Exeter.

Studies have shown that old school rulers, ink bottles, wedding dresses and other items can help jog memories and keep conversations flowing. Wartime memories can often achieve the same.

Priory Adult Care (formerly Amore Care) is part of the Priory Group of companies and recently won the ‘Most Outstanding Residential Care Service in the UK’ at the UK Over 50s Housing Awards 2014.

The events at Willows care home began in February on Valentine’s Day when families and friends were invited to join loved ones over a meal at the home in Llanwonno Road, Perthcelyn, Mountain Ash.

Activity Co-ordinator Debbie Morgan, along with other home staff, ensured that tables were laid so families could enjoy a romantic dinner overlooking the panoramic views of the Cynon Valley.

The experience was enjoyed by residents and their families who were able to reminisce about courtship, marriage, children and other significant events. The day was such a success that it will be turned into an annual event at the home.

To add to the festivities, residents from Willows were invited to attend a dance at the Cwmaman Public Hall and Institute.

A group of residents joined members of the public to dance to music they recalled from the 1950s and 60s.

Celebrations continued with residents and staff celebrating Pancake Day by making, cooking and eating pancakes. The day also included a pancake flipping competition.

Darran Thomas, Home Manager of Willows Care Home said he was delighted with the positive results.

“By putting on events such as these, we hope that we create an engaging environment for both staff and residents alike. These days do a great deal to encourage residents to stay active and promote a positive environment.

“Everyone at Willows care home has thoroughly enjoyed him or herself and we greatly look forward to future events. There is evidence that reminiscence therapy and life story work, particularly when done one-on-one, can improve mood, wellbeing and some mental abilities such as memory. By talking about who they are, people with dementia can help others focus on them, and not their dementia.”

For more information on the specialist services Priory Adult Care can offer, please call the enquiries and referrals team on 0808 208 2147 or click here to make an enquiry.