A Walk Down A Serbian Memory Lane 

One of the great things about partnering with like-minded organisations who are passionate about combining their professional skills with a desire to make a differnce to the lives of often 'forgotten' people is that you can make great things happen.

One such example is how Anglia Research and The Money Carer Foundation (MCF) combined our resources and skills to put a smile on a 96 year old Serbian lady who was a client of MCF. Danika was living in a care home in the East Midlands and had dementia along with other physical disabilities. Of Serbian decent, Danika moved to the UK with her husband after the Second World War where they settled in Derbyshire.

As the years went by and Danika got older and frailer her memory was significantly affected by the onset of dementia. This resulted in Danika's shorter term memory receding along with her command of the English language. Danika could remember more about her life as a young girl and woman in the former Yugoslavia before the war however she was unable to share much of her experiences of life before she moved to the UK. This was not simply because her memory was not what it once was but because of the fact that although she could recall quite a bit of her Slavak language, the carers and staff at her care home could not speak her language.

To tackle this everyday problem for Danika the team at MCF were able to discuss with Anglia Research the possibility of working together on a project to produce a personalised Book of Memories for Danika that would give her pleasure by bringing to life some of her cherished memories from the former Yougoslavia whilst providing the care staff at her home with a bespoke point of reference to Danikas life and background via the book and accompanying DVD filled with traditional Serbian music and old movies that would have been popular when she was a young woman.

Danika's own Book of Memories was launched with team members from MCF and Anglia Research along with a traditional Serbian meal that was cooked for her by her care staff who were very excited to part of the project also.

Although Danika passed away a few years after this initiative it made a significant difference to her everyday activities as she carried her book of memories with her (attached to her walking frame) and she was able to she precious memories with other residents and new care staff. We were informed by the care home that the book served to be a catalyst for Danika in striking up social relationships with other residents and she listened to her traditional Serbian music often with other residents which made her happy.