If the person you care for enjoys reminiscing, a free and endless supply of vintage TV clips and theme tunes might be just want they need. Here’s what you need to know about two free BBC service for people living with dementia

There’s no doubt that TV can play a useful role when you’re caring for someone with dementia. The right show at the right time can help a loved one to relax and may even stir good memories and great conversation. But it can be difficult to find something that will resonate with them. Until now.

Imagine being able to sit down with your loved one and watch a Pathe news clip from 1945, a clip from Alistair Cooke’s Postcards from America, or a very young looking David Attenborough meeting a gorilla… These (and around 1,500 more) vintage TV clips are available on the BBC’s  RemArc website which has been designed with dementia in mind. The site contains items from BBC archives (including video clips, audio clips and images) which it’s hoped will help people with dementia to trigger happy memories and spark conversation with family and friends.

The permanent archive includes popular television and radio programmes throughout the decades, including Zoo Quest, The Goon Show, The Generation Game, Tomorrow’s World, Parkinson and many more. News footage of Royal visits, political speeches and moments from history such as the moon landings are also easily accessed, some of which haven’t been seen by the public since they were first broadcast decades ago. Generic photos and footage showing every day life from the 1930’s onwards (children playing, familiar train and tube journeys, football matches etc ) are also likely to be very popular.

The archive is divided into themes and decades and is very easy to navigate. You can choose to watch clips from any decade from the 1930’s onwards, or you can browse by themes such as childhood, animals, music, people, TV shows, etc.

RemArc was created in conjunction with Alzheimer’s Society, and specialists from Dundee University and St Andrews University. ‘We know that reminiscence can be a powerful way of connecting people affected by dementia with their memories and improving their mood,’ says Kathryn Smith, director of operations at Alzheimer’s Society. ‘People who have used it already talk really positively about their experience of it as a helpful reminiscence tool and enjoyable activity.’

BBC Music Memories is another free music service for people with dementia, offering them the chance to listen to snippets of a wide range of music – from classical and pop to favourite TV theme tunes from years gone by – and reconnect with often powerful memories. The site is specially designed for dementia and extremely easy to navigate (three large buttons direct you to Classical Music, Pop Music or Theme Tunes). We tried it ourselves and loved it!

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Activities & Reminiscence