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Corporate news and events | Fundraising

Poetry book published by Optalis raises awareness about dementia

Monday 18 November 2019

Get your copy of the Rhymes of our Times poetry book.  

The book is on sale in libraries across Wokingham, Windsor and Maidenhead, as well as Optalis for just £10.

Please contact jodie.reichelt@optalis.org or
 julia.harris@rbwm.gov.uk if you would like to purchase a copy.
We also have copies available at our head office in Wokingham, just pop in to purchase one. 

Proceeds raised from sales of this book will be used to fund the purchase of equipment that will enhance the provision of activities across Optalis older peoples’ services for the benefit of customers.

Following the launch of a project in March, a poetry book named ‘Rhymes of our Times’ was released by elderly residents from the community. Published on National Poetry Day, 3rd October 2019 by local care provider Optalis, the book celebrates the experiences of older people, providing readers with an insight into the lives of older generations. The book also boasts endorsement and a poem from Sue Holderness, the actress well known for her part as Marlene in Only Fools and Horses. Sue has become a great ambassador for dementia, drawing on her own family’s experience.

Optalis, who provide care services across Berkshire, had the concept for the project to give their customers an opportunity to express their feelings through poetry, stimulating the mind. Activities were organised throughout Optalis Older People Services, giving people a range of ways to participate, meeting people’s different interests and abilities. Poems have always been so powerful in conveying emotion. So to create a book from the memories of the customers from the Optalis establishments now seemed to be the obvious choice for Optalis' next project.

Many of the individuals who have contributed to the poetry book are those living with dementia. It has helped them to share life experiences, and in some instances overcoming some of their challenges with memory loss and communication.

Julie Harris, Optalis head of non-regulated services, who came up with the idea for the book, said: “When you read the poetry book, you become captivated by the art created by our customers. It’s been a cathartic experience, giving them a chance to relive some of their fondest memories whilst being creative. The best part of my job is finding out about the histories of the people I am privileged to work with. The times and changes this generation have lived through are almost unimaginable to us. What better way to showcase this than in a book?"

Using photographs of people’s hands to highlight their stories alongside an image. These tales at one time literally being in the hands of those telling them. Just a couple of sentences can open up a  brief insight to the ‘person’, not their diagnosis. These memories and stories will show you that far from judging the physical appearance of those who contributed you will see a collection of lives that have been lived.

Lives, once again, lived far beyond our imagination.... until now.

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