Carnoustie Memories still rockin' all over the world

A pilot international reminiscence project carried out in Angus care homes has led to the introduction of the scheme across Scotland.
The sessions were a welcome addition to the group’s programme.The sessions were a welcome addition to the group’s programme.
The sessions were a welcome addition to the group’s programme.

Sessions run by Carnoustie Memories caught on during the pandemic, which required ways of keeping in touch, saw older people in the county link up with others in the USA to make new friends, share memories of teenage years and relive the days of coffee bars and rock ‘n’ roll.

The award-winning dementia group began with weekly zoom sessions for golf and football but a partnership with Juke Box Days, operated by Screen Memories, added a new programme for members to enjoy.

Initially residents at Kinloch Care Centre in Carnoustie and Seaton Grove in Arbroath, followed later by Tigh-Na-Muirn in Monifieth, were linked with homes in Vermont, Pennsylvania, Texas, Massachusetts and North Carolina, which were received enthusiastically.

A spokesperson said: “The cultural links were strong, and the American dominance of the music scene in the 50s was countered by the British ‘invasion’ of the 60s.

"The people in the sessions shared the same interests, liked the same artists, had worn the same clothes and tried the same dance crazes. They had all loved their special times as teenagers, and it was like going through a Time Tunnel and recreating a period of fun, happiness, joy and excitement.”

Thanks to a member of the local authority care staff referring to the scheme during a meeting with the Care Inspectorate, the project went on to catch the wider attention of the Inspectorate in Scotland. As a result, more care homes are now involved.

As with all Carnoustie Memories groups, sessions are free. Linked sessions have added Screen Memories where the big films, iconic stars and the unforgettable memories of a night at the cinema are recalled.

The spokesperson added: “Participants vote for their favourite actors, film themes and film quotes and the emphasis is on fun and enjoyment. Some of the recall is spectacular and personal stories of actual meetings with stars have astounded staff and volunteers. After three years of toe tapping the fun and friendship rocks on.”

For further details of Jukebox Days and Screen Memories, contact [email protected]