Derry family create ‘Memory Box’ for mother with dementia

76- year old Anne Mooring, holding her 'Memory Box', pictured with her daughters Jackie Lees (seated left) and Marie Doherty. Standing is Anne's daughter Roisin Cartmill (on the right) and Seymour Care Centre Activities Co-ordinator Maureen McLaughlin. DER0316GS040

76- year old Anne Mooring, holding her 'Memory Box', pictured with her daughters Jackie Lees (seated left) and Marie Doherty. Standing is Anne's daughter Roisin Cartmill (on the right) and Seymour Care Centre Activities Co-ordinator Maureen McLaughlin. DER0316GS040

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The children of a Derry woman with dementia are creating a memory box for their mother.

Seventy-six year-old Ann Mooring was diagnosed with the illness several years ago and currently lives in Seymour Gardens Care Home in the Waterside.

Originally from the Pennyburn area of Derry, Ann married and had six daughters. Ann reared her family in Rathkeele Way in Creggan before moving to Hazelbank where she lived until she had to move into a care home.

“Just because my mammy doesn’t remember all her memories doesn’t mean they didn’t happen,” said second youngest daughter, Roisin Cartmill.

“One of mammy’s carers, Maureen McLaughlin, suggested that we create a ‘Memory Box’ and we also thought it was a good way to raise awareness of what is a life changing illness,” she added.

Ann worked in Frankie Ramsey’s fish and chip shop in Creggan before settling down to have a family.

Roisin said, of the many things sacred in the family home growing up, number one was the latest edition of The Derry Journal.

“Mammy loved reading the ‘Journal’. Even when we my sisters and I got older and moved out we always knew mammy had to have her ‘Journal’ days.

“The responsibility of making sure mammy had her copy of the ‘Journal’ on a Tuesday and Friday and a bun often fell to the older grandchildren.

“When any of us called in to visit mammy on ‘Journal’ day her hands and face would be black from reading the paper from front to back - mammy loved reading the ‘Journal’,” said Roisin.

Roisin and her five sisters Marie, Karen, Jackie, Angela and Joanne all take turns visiting their mother and taking her out on day trips.

“One of mammy’s favourite things to do before she got sick was to go for a run in the car to Buncrana for a pink and white poke. I still take her to Buncrana all the time and every time she gets the pink and white she says ‘this is the best thing ever, I should do this more often’.

“I also keep a memory pen in my car with all the music mammy likes - I call it the ‘Mammy Pen’,” she smiled.

“We all love mammy dearly and that’s why we are putting together the memory box. I would definitely recommend creating a memory box to other families of people with dementia - it’s a great way of keeping someone’s identity alive and making sure younger relatives know about who they were,” added Roisin.