Can we counter dementia, depression, loneliness and inactivity with sporting memories? (312)
A successful one-year pilot in 2009 led the Scottish National Football Museum in partnership with Alzheimer Scotland to set up Football Memories reminiscence groups for people with Alzheimer’s disease. The Football Memories Scotland network then undertook to support the memories groups being set up under the auspices of Sports Heritage Scotland for shinty, golf, rugby, and cricket. These groups catered to people experiencing loneliness, isolation or depression as well people living with dementia or other forms of memory loss.
The UK’s Sporting Memories program has now developed a co-ordinated network of free community-based sports reminiscence groups to counter dementia, depression and loneliness via facilitated discussions of sporting memories followed by physical activity sessions. Sport England is now funding the Sporting Memories Network to help reduce the number of inactive older adults.
How might such programs operate in Australia and at what scale? What benefits, opportunities and dangers could they offer? How would they differ from these pioneering programs? How would we evaluate them? Where do or should we draw the line between reminiscence therapy and oral history, between pure sports history and applied uses of sports history?