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Football memories used to help dementia sufferers

17 March 10 17:22 GMT

A project which uses football to help stimulate the memories of men who are suffering from dementia is reporting encouraging results.

The Scottish Football Reminiscence Project is run by the Football Museum at Hampden and supported by several other organisations.

Motherwell manager Craig Brown is among those helping promote the scheme.

Men taking part meet up to look at old photographs and share memories of players and games.

The pilot initiative, which has been running for 12 months, is funded by Museums Galleries Scotland working alongside Alzheimer Scotland, Culture and Sport Glasgow, the Scottish Library and Information Council and a number of football clubs from across the country.

Those involved said they had seen positive and encouraging results.

They said chatting to the men about about their memories of games, players, managers and events at the time helped stimulate their minds.

One wife involved with the project said: "I drive here with this sad person with dementia and take home my husband."

Professor Debbie Tolson, from the Scottish Centre for Evidence Based Care of Older People at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: "This was a fascinating study that revealed impressive results.

"The men's life-long interest in football connected them to their former selves and shared memories.

"There is very little provided for men with dementia and this is a welcome innovation."

Robert Craig, chairman of the Scottish Football Museum, said: "It is great that football memories stretching over many years can brighten the lives of people suffering from dementia."

There are more than 63,000 people with dementia across the country and 7,000 more are diagnosed with the illness every year.

Henry Simmons, from Alzheimer Scotland, added: "The Scottish Football Museum has not only created a marvellous tool for engaging with people with dementia, but also ensured that research was carried out in the pilot, providing an impressive body of evidence.

"Football is the connecting thread between so many different aspects of Scottish life and this project uses the great passion that people have for this sport to improve their quality of life."

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