Saturday 1 October 2016

Alzheimer Society launches Rugby Memories to aid dementia sufferers

Published 27/11/2015 | 02:30

Pictured at the launch of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland’s Rugby Memories campaign are Leinster’s, from left, Aaron Dundon, Colm O’Shea, Sean Cronin with former Irish international Philip Orr and his former Old Wesley team-mate John Meldrum
Pictured at the launch of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland’s Rugby Memories campaign are Leinster’s, from left, Aaron Dundon, Colm O’Shea, Sean Cronin with former Irish international Philip Orr and his former Old Wesley team-mate John Meldrum

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, one of two charity partners to Leinster Rugby, has launched a new pilot initiative called Rugby Memories.

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Rugby Memories uses old photographs and memorabilia to trigger recollections from the past in fans and former players affected by dementia.

The images and memorabilia help recall and improve self-confidence in people with dementia and the event provides a much-needed supportive social outlet.

ASI CEO Colette Kelleher said: "The aim of this project is to use a reminiscence approach to connect rugby fans and former players, especially those living with dementia, to the rugby community, providing important friendships, positive associations and practical respite for carers. We are calling on rugby clubs across the country who wish to get involved to contact us and host a Rugby Memories event."

At the launch were former Leinster, Ireland and Lions prop Philip Orr and current Leinster players Sean Cronin, Aaron Dundon and Colm O'Shea, who shared fond memories from various games with Clontarf, Shannon, Old Wesley and even an underage tale of the half-time orange peels being used as gum shields for the second half!

It is hoped that the Rugby Memories initiative will reach out to people in the community who have been rugby fans all of their lives, but might feel too socially isolated to stay involved in their clubs.

We are asking rugby clubs across the country to embrace Rugby Memories so that people with dementia can stay engaged with the sport they love.

If you are interested in hosting a Rugby Memories event in your local Rugby club please contact The Alzheimer Society of Ireland on 01-2073800 or email info@alzheimer.ie

l The Alzheimer Society of Ireland will be in attendance at tonight's game against Ulster and as well as raising awareness of the work that they do, they will bring some Christmas cheer to the RDS with a 50 strong choir!

Please support them as best you can.

Irish Independent

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