Gallery: Normski the gnome is bringing back memories for dementia sufferers

Normski the gnome checks out the milk in Asda Stoke Park.

Normski the gnome checks out the milk in Asda Stoke Park. - Credit: Archant

WITH his cheery face and sunny smile, this happy little fellow has been bringing back memories for care home residents struggling with dementia.

Normski the gnome is part of a reminiscence project at Park View Care Home which has seen him travel around the town and even take tea with the mayor.

The idea came from activities coordinator Mandy Dennington.

“I was shopping in Asda and they were lined up at the door and you couldn’t help but smile at them,” she said.

Asda Stoke Park agreed to donate the gnome and even held a fundraiser among the staff to choose his name.

Normski’s tour of the town is to be turned into a reminiscence DVD to spark the memories of residents suffering with dementia.

Care home manager Angie Ryan said: “We do a lot with reminiscence therapy. A lot of our residents are locked in a time and we’ve got to find a way to unlock that. We don’t want to drag them into our reality now, we want to go back to where they are – it can be in their childhood, it can be in their 30s or 40s.”

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After getting up and helping out around the home, Normski visited Christchurch Mansion and the Cenotaph, he’s been to Town 102 to be interviewed by Paul Morris, to the town hall to have tea with Ipswich Mayor Mary Blake and taken a ride on a bus.

He went to ASDA to do his shopping and even helped staff out around the store before heading down to the coast to visit Felixstowe docks.

“The idea is it’s a day in the life of our gnome and people can identify with him,” Mandy said. “The idea is when we show these pictures, it’s a conversation point.

“Even little things, like buying a pint of milk at ASDA, can start a discussion about the price of milk or rationing during the war.”

IT manager Dave Francis has been taking the photos and the pictures will be set to music to create the finished DVD.

Taking Normski around the town has also given the team a chance to explain the effects of dementia to more people and raise awareness as many passers-by stop to ask what they are doing.

Angie said: “It’s good to know there’s a lighter side to dementia, it’s not all doom and gloom.

“It’s about raising awareness and dispelling myths and it’s about having fun.”