Your professional provider of Domiciliary Care Services throughout the region.

March 15th, 2017

Do you remember Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men? Or the theme tune to the Old Grey Whistle Test? Depending on your age, you probably do.

And if you live with dementia, or have a friend or family member who has the condition, it is likely you (or they) remember them too. Because these old memories often stay with a person when other memories have gone.

So we were delighted to hear that the BBC has launched a permanent archive of pictures, audio and video clips as part of a project to help people with dementia, their family and carers, using their extensive archive to spark conversation.

Since a pilot scheme was launched last year, three-quarters of the 17,000 people who have used the archive reported that it triggered long-term memories they did not realise still existed.

The BBC has now confirmed it will make the resources permanent and easier to navigate, giving viewers a “natural way” to stimulate conversation and reminiscences. It is called the BBC Reminiscence Archive (BBC RemArc) and you can access it here.

The footage includes many ordinary scenes from each decade from the 1950s onwards, including children playing, football matches and familiar journeys by train and tube.

Other clips include popular television and radio programme throughout the ages, from Sir David Attenborough’s famous 1950s encounters in ZooQuest right up to the Generation Game, Blue Peter and Playschool.

BBC RemArc was created by the BBC’s Archive Development team in conjunction with Dundee University, the University of St Andrews and the Alzheimer’s Society.

Containing around 1,500 items from the BBC Archives, it showcases around 250 video clips, 250 audio clips and more than 1,000 images from the 1930s to the 2000s.

Scenes show a young Sir Michael Parkinson, Sir Patrick Moore, and Delia Smith in their element, while Alistair Cooke broadcasts his Postcards from America and Jacob Bronowski describes The Ascent Of Man in 1973.

News footage includes Royal visits by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, speeches by Margaret Thatcher when Prime Minister and a film of the moon landings.

Dr Norman Alm, an honorary research fellow at Dundee University, said: “I have again and again seen the difference between interacting with and without this kind of carefully-designed technological help – and the difference is unbelievable.

“RemArc is a boon to people with dementia and just as importantly to their carers, who can sit back, relax, and enjoy the conversation, with RemArc doing all the heavy-lifting of supporting the interaction and keeping it lively, engaging, and importantly, unpredictable.”

Kathryn Smith, director of operations at Alzheimer’s Society says: “Dementia affects 850,000 people in the UK today and this is set to rise to one million by 2021. It’s more important than ever that people with dementia are supported to live well with their condition.”

We have to say that, at DoCare – where we support many clients and their families, who are living with dementia – we think this is a marvellous resource and will be using it as part of our mission to make every day a better day.


This blog was written by Kate Townsend, DoCare’s Field Manager.  If you have a relative who you think would benefit from DoCare’s services, or would like assistance yourself, please get in touch.  If you are interested in a rewarding career as a support worker, we would love to hear from you – please give us a call or you can apply online.