Isles FM


I was kindly invited to talk about the project on Isles FM on Tuesday with Janet and Donald. We had a lovely chat and I’ve been invited back any time! Janet and Donald’s show goes out on a Tuesday from 10am -1pm and is full of chat, guests, traditional music and community notices.

Dementia Awareness Week 16

For Dementia Awareness Week, we wanted to celebrate bilingualism and Gaelic Culture, so we decided to look deeper at the Gaelic proverbs/phrases that people visiting the Museum enjoyed reading and interpreting so much. We also found some Gaelic Proverb postcards from a previous project at An Lanntair that we can share as conversation starters and inspiration.

Over the next 3 weeks, we will bring sessions to people in care homes and day centres, discussing proverbs in English and Gaelic and possible interpretations, many of which have several interpretations (Jon Macleod will pick up this theme later with a blog post and some new research on bilingualism).

The resulting phrases and interpretations will be created to display on care centre walls.

We have been collaborating with Western Isles Hospital on Memory Cafe sessions recently. This is culminating in a Playlist for Life reminiscence session and personal data collection session on Monday 6th June at Western Isles Hospital. This is to support people in hospital with their own data key of personal reminiscence material that can go with them wherever they might go after hospital. It can also be used in hospital with relatives and staff.



A wonderful man at the Memory Cafe was chastising me for depending on my husband for parking the car, for doing the things he says I can do. He told me to go to an empty car park and line up my own car with parking lines – to practice. How generous of him to encourage me. How considerate and sweet. I’m so grateful.

And as he was talking about lines, I was looking at the lines on his face and thinking about all the people he has loved and smiled at and worried over to make those lines. And I wondered why we as a culture don’t see these lines of love as beautiful. They are to me. 


All of our sessions welcome participation in whichever way a person feels comfortable and able. Some people have fully formed thoughts and sentences, others have fragmented words or single words and some use facial expressions or hand movements.

At the Museum, there is a wonderful ten minute film, which was shot with open cameras around the islands.

One lady, who came along with the Alzheimer Scotland group, went into the room with the projections on three walls and couldn’t contain her overwhelming surprise at what she saw, shouting ‘WOW!’ so loudly that everyone in the room shared the joy with her and giggled, some also agreeing softly ‘wow’. This lady was so happy to have shared that moment with the group, that whenever there was another ‘wow’ moment, such as flying off the top of the Clisham, she excitedly shared it with the group. It was wonderful to see this joyful and enthusiastic communication and it enhanced everyone’s experience of the film.


Male and female perspectives

The Museum preview trips have brought forward some wonderful thoughts and stories.

One lady was speaking about carrying the peats in a creel. She said, “Oh no, we didn’t JUST carry the peats like the men. We sang to our children AND we knitted while walking. Oh no, women never did just one thing at once! There weren’t enough hours in the day to do one thing at once.”

And later, talking to a gentleman about this, he retorted “If anyone had enough breath left to sing when carrying peats, they weren’t working hard enough!”


Two more preview trips to the Museum and Lovely Myra

I met Myra Lamont today, who volunteers for Life Changes Trust and is a volunteer member of  NDCAN

She was in the area to support carers and I was lucky enough to spend some time with her today, when she came along to the Museum trip with Solas and stayed to have a lunch meeting with me at An Lanntair.

I learned so much from Myra, her information was invaluable and I’ll be working on one of her ideas in the immediate future.

Meanwhile, the group from Solas loved the Museum preview trip. There were ten people with dementia, 5 staff plus volunteers and myself plus Myra.

The next group came from Blar Buidhe care Centre (having heard about how much people enjoyed it last week, another group wanted to come). Margaret Anne took great pride in being able to read Gaelic and another lady was so high in her standard of Gaelic, that she was able to correct some Museum resources! It was a beautiful day, too.

Ward Memory Cafe

8 people came to the cafe today, along with three relatives/friends and 5 staff. Plus myself and Elly from Alzheimer Scotland.

The weather was glorious! 23 degrees.

One lady, who had recently been struggling, was particularly settled today, chatting about hobbies, reading the paper along with an OT team member. 

Others had a go at colouring, shared Back in the Day and puzzles.

Two gentlemen knew each other from previous Retirement Centre groups and were overjoyed to see each other. 

The ginger cake went down very well today!