A new group intends to take advantage of the rich golfing history of St Andrews to help improve the lives of those with dementia.
The British Golf Museum, which is part of The R&A’s group of companies, and Alzheimer Scotland have come together to run a new monthly social group for people living with dementia and memory loss.
Using past photos and memorabilia – including The Open when it has been played at St Andrews – individuals are invited to come along and share their memories about golf and reconnect with their passion for the sport through spending meaningful time with other golfers.
The initiative builds on other groups formed at golf facilities across the country, including Carnoustie, Dumfries and Noah’s Ark in Perth. They are part of the overall Golf Memories Project, which is part of the wider Sports Heritage Scotland network, helping stir memories among people living with memory loss or experiencing other related forms of social isolation.
The St Andrews Golf Memories Group is meeting for 90-minute sessions on a Tuesday once a month, with putting activities also available for those who want to play.
Hannah Fleming, Museum & Heritage Assistant Curator at the British Golf Museum, has helped drive the new group forward having spoken to those running the successful Carnoustie initiative.
Fleming said, “We are delighted to be able to host the Golf Memories Group at the British Golf Museum as a valuable resource for our community. Our collections help to inspire the sessions and uncover new stories and personal experiences in golf.
“We hope to build a relationship with the members of the group and their families, and working alongside Alzheimer Scotland will enable us to create a friendly environment for golf fans to re-connect with the sport and memories they love.”
Scotland currently leads the world in reminiscence therapy. Football, cricket, curling, rugby and shinty are among the sports also involved, a collaborative effort of reminiscence groups to stir memories, fulfil lives and also encourage participants back into the sports they love.
Alzheimer Scotland offers a wide range of community activities across Scotland and Anne Haskell, the Community Activities Organiser for North East Fife, added, “We have several groups in the area such as a walking group, craft group, gardening group and other social groups. One of the newest groups is a monthly social group to share memories about golf in St Andrews.
“Our Community Groups are there to be enjoyed by anyone living with dementia or experiencing difficulties with their memory, including their families and friends.”
These sessions are open to anyone living with dementia and their carers/family. People can either attend independently or bring a companion where support is needed. Donations welcome.
The next meeting of the St Andrews Golf Memories Group is on Tuesday 13 November from 2pm – 3.30pm at the British Golf Museum, with further meetings taking place on 11 December, 8 January and 12 February (same timings).
To find out more about dementia support in your area, call Alzheimer Scotland 24 hour Freephone Dementia Helpline on 0808 808 3000 or visit www.alzscot.org