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Care Minister Norman Lamb is in the newspapers for his comments about personalising surroundings for people in care homes. Speaking to the Telegraph, Mr Lamb said that care homes should seek to put residents’ own furnishings in their rooms and added, “The whole focus needs to be on personalising care as much as possible.”

We at MHA applaud Mr Lamb’s words, but the idea isn’t new to us. Since our inception in 1943, when our charity was established to create an alternative to the inhumanity and anonymity of the workhouse, we have known the importance of respecting everyone as a unique individual. We have always encouraged residents to bring their own treasured possessions to make their rooms truly theirs. I have visited many residents whose rooms contain their artwork, furniture made for them by loved ones or that has been in the family for generations, or throws and bedspreads in whose very fibres are entangled the memories of their lives. Our dementia care homes often have ‘memory boxes’ outside people’s bedroom doors – visible displays of personal mementoes important and precious to them and who they are. Many homes have been refurbished in recent years, and residents choose their colour schemes. We are also known for providing music therapy without charge to people with dementia, offering a non-verbal means of self expression and communication.

Bringing memories from home while enabling older people to continue enjoying life every day is a crucial part of our care. Mr Lamb is quite right in everything he says – and we have been supporting people to do this for over 70 years.

Anna Marshall-Day

Director of People Development

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