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Sporting Memories Used as Part of New Dementia Therapy Programme

The formation of an innovative group, the Sporting Memories Network, has heralded a new and beneficial form of dementia therapy centring on sporting images, memorabilia and match reports to trigger and revisit fond and vivid memories.

Kingswood Care Home Resident with Staff

Engagement and Inclusion

The therapy has proved instrumental in engaging those who are at risk of becoming socially isolated or who are suffering from depression by boosting mood and confidence, which can so often drop later in life. By engaging dementia sufferers in lively discussion and revisiting sports memories from their past, the Sporting Memories Network has found that sufferers have often been able to unlock long-forgotten memories with startling clarity, and that it is a hugely enjoyable and positive experience to revisit a topic about which they are often passionate and knowledgeable.

Dementia sufferer Bill Corbett was once a highly successful footballer, playing for the Scottish national team as well as clubs in England and Scotland. Kevin McKay, a Dementia Adviser at Bill’s day centre, had been completely unaware of Bill’s sporting history until the Sporting Memories Network began their Football Memories group with Bill. “We’ll never forget his face as we read out the article from the Daily Express [and] the match report of the game,” says Kevin. “The day he went to Hamden Park was so moving.”

Support and Innovation

The impact that these memories had on Bill and his carers was proof enough for the co-founder of the Sporting Memories Network, Michael White, that reminiscing on sport was a powerful and effective form of treatment. The network is now partnered with Alzheimer Scotland and leads Football Memories sessions with dementia sufferers all across Scotland. The work is supported by stars of the sporting world also, including Formula One racing driver David Coulthard and celebrated tennis commentator John Inverdale. The network is now branching out to include a wider variety of sports, including tennis, golf, track and field and motor sports so that everyone can feel engaged and included.

For inspiration and advice, visit, where there is a wealth of images and materials to stir joyful and exciting memories, including the opportunity to add your own photographs to the collection.

Committed to Caring

The importance of feeling comfortable, confident and cared for in one’s old age cannot be overstated. Numerous studies have confirmed that interaction and inclusion have a beneficial effect on both mental and physical illnesses and that happiness and enjoyment can be a valuable aspect of therapy. At Balcombe Care Homes, we are committed to providing residents with the care, compassion and respect that they so richly deserve. We have a long history of innovation in therapy and are constantly exploring new and effective forms that improve the quality of life and health for our residents who are suffering from dementia and other conditions. We always put the needs of our residents first and provide a high level of attentive care for increasingly complex needs. We offer the support, attention and innovation needed to get full enjoyment out of later life.

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