Inventor tormented by dad’s dementia produces memory aid
PUBLISHED: 12:39 16 November 2011
Penny Wrout (John's wife) - submitted
An inventor, who was devastated by his father’s mental deterioration after he developed Alzheimer’s disease, has created an award-winning memory aid called the ‘MindDice’.
John Sprange, 54, of South Hackney, said: “My father couldn’t remember things that happened two minutes before, but his recall of the past was very good.
“For example, he enjoyed talking about riding his bike as a little boy in the 1920s or visiting a certain pub in the 1960s.
“I realised that by tapping into old memories, the person retains a sense of self, and family, friends and care staff can engage with them.”
When John’s father, Derek, entered a care home in 2008, he made a list of cherished memories as reminders for him.
But the piece of paper was often tidied away by staff, so he created the large, brightly-coloured MindDice instead.
The dice, which costs £15, allows family members to write words on the sides that will spark memories enjoyed by the sufferer.
The words can be wiped off with a special cloth, so the memories can be changed as necessary.
John has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award that could see his invention named ‘care innovator of the year’ at the Great British Care Awards in May 2012.
A spokesman for the awards, which are designed to recognise excellence in the care home and home care sectors, praised John’s dice as an “excellent communications stimulant helping to keep memories alive”.
Designer John, who lives in Southborough Road with his wife and nine-year-old daughter, won the regional heat of the awards in London last month and says he is “optimistic” about next year’s finals.
“It’s a really painful thing, looking after someone with dementia,” he said.
“I wanted to come up with something to help enable people to keep contact for a little while longer.”
John believes the dice improved his father’s quality of life before his death last year.
For more information about the MindDice, or to buy one, visit www.minddice.co.uk.
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