We booked a vintage tea party for my mothers 86 birthday and were extremely impressed with the quality! Absolutely first class. The decor was very authentic 1950s( which my mother loved) This is a total gem of a shop tucked away in Darlaston. The shop it’s self is fully stocked with products from all our yesteryear’s, which both youngsters and elders were fascinated with but the real star of this extraordinary shop is its staff! Nothing is too much trouble, they are all very knowledgeable and on hand to discus tales of years gone by. Highly recommended. Everyone should visit here at least once!! Vickie Berry

The lady who purchased the entertainment cards has been in the Age UK shop, she said her husband is over the moon with them, finding them a great benefit and using them regularly . So a BIG thumbs up!!! Janine Hayes, Dementia café co-ordinator/Mind matters co-ordinator .

Thank you for all the information given. The items in the shop are excellent for people with dementia. I will pass on all your information to residents and family and staff from Bupa. Will be seeing you again. Pat, Activities Coordinator, Bupa.

The Aquapaints have gone down very well and we use them regularly.  My mum’s dementia is quite advanced now regarding much conversation, and she can become a bit confused by the background to the pictures, but we just paint inside the outlines and that works well.  Her care home were intrigued by them and also love the jigsaws, so they get widely used by many residents. Sue, Macclesfield.

Thank you so much for sending the ‘This is My LIfe’ book, which my husband is looking at as I write this. I think it will be of enormous help to us both in the time to come. Mrs Elliott, Kingstone.

Thank you for all your help last week, the Aquapaints were a great success! I have left your information with the family and i am sure they will be in touch to purchase more items. It was lovely to meet you and will see you again-Kim, Locality Therapy Team

My aunt is in a care home with short term memory loss. I came to the shop and brought the Aquapaints and they have gone down really well with Betty and her friends. I have come back today for another set of them. There are lots of things here at the shop that would be very helpful to her and will be back again soon” Ann, niece

“What a fabulous oasis in the town-I am sure much pleasure will be gained from the lovely good ideas on offer. A brilliant welcome and lots of excellent information!!” Lynne, resident in Walsall

“Saw the shop in a newspaper article. We are really glad we made the effort to visit. So many good ideas- we will be back for more! Thanks” Son and Daughter-in-law

“A fantastic idea for a shop, much needed, great range of gifts for our elderly relatives. My mom is really happy with her gifts (Jigsaws, Aquapaints and Word search). I wish Vicki all the best and hope the business is a great success, she deserves at as it’s a service in the community we need. Well done Vicki, good luck xx” Lin, Carer for mom with dementia

“I have visited the shop (Darlaston) a few times and have found it very friendly and helpful. I have purchased the Aquapaints and the residents really love them and find them very satisfactory, giving them confidence in every way” Care Home, Activity Coordinator

“Excellent book with so many recognisable songs. My father has quite severe dementia and recognises a good many of the songs. He will happily sing along for an hour or more once he gets some help with tunes guidance & following the verses, although on occasions he has taught me a tune or two! On his own he loves just reading the book. I would thoroughly recommend this both for families and care groups alike. Well worth the money”. (Song Book)

Washday Blues- Book Review
Washday Blues by Mindful Gifts is a reminiscence book designed for people with Dementia to share together with their families and carers. Vicki Phipps, the founder of Mindful Gifts has had many years’ experience in this sector of Health and Social Care; using the insight and knowledge she has gained to produce this beautifully presented book.
The book is a paperback with the cover well representing the content, immediately attracting the attention of the reader; it is also large enough for two or three people to look at it collectively with ease. The book content is a series of delightful photographs shot in black and white depicting the family washday in times before washing machines were standard household equipment. The illustrations portray the days when water was heated in the copper, agitated with a ‘posh’ in a ‘dolly tub’ then passed through the mangle. Each photograph is accompanied on the facing page by a short rhyme discussing the scene. In fact the title of the book is a clever echo of the fact that a blue bag was added to the wash to make all the ‘whites’ dazzlingly bright.
It is recognised that poetry and rhyme stimulate the cognitive abilities of people with Dementia and helps them make connections to their past, whilst visual art stimulates areas of the brain helping trigger memories and encouraging conversation. This is a book therefore, which will certainly help encourage a two way chat.
We have already used the book to reminisce with one of our members who enjoyed going through it, responding with recollections of washday as a child including turning the mangle for her mother. We are very happy with our copy of Washday Blues and after seeing the enjoyment it gave, we look forward to using this book regularly. Washday Blues will be a lovely and useful tool for our staff, volunteers and pastoral carers.
Val, Bethal Chapel, Stourbridge, West Midlands

“The residents always chose the Aquapaints when I ask them what activities they would like to do. We are also using the Memory Box and we have had some good sessions with those” Alison, Activity Coordinator, Care Home Dudley.

“I would like to say that the quality of the products that I have received are of a very high standard and I look forward to promoting the use of them within Adult and Community Learning team” Anna Fusco, Arts Curriculum Leader, Adult and Community Learning.

“The residents are really enjoying the jigsaws and colouring. It is great to have some resources that they are able to do mostly without help. Thank you for your assistance”.

“My mother gradually became calm, relaxed and interested in the books and we spent one and a half hours sharing them and recalling her memories from childhood. She previously read widely and it gave her great pleasure to ‘read’ the books. A big thank you from my family.”

“I purchased two books to try with my father resident in a care home. He has dementia and it was difficult to engage him in conversation. I took the two books on my next visit and I chose one. We started to look at it, helping him to turn the pages.  It was an hour of chat, laughs and fun! He smiled, pointed to pictures and text, read some of the words and touched odd pictures very tenderly. When a carer came into the room to get him ready for tea, he said “Oh Dear! We haven’t finished the book.” I left him, reassuring him we would read the books again – as we have. I was in tears sitting outside in my car; I have found my Dad again, within that hour. Thank you.”
“Mindful Gifts attends the Walsall and Sandwell dementia cafés. They express the use and benefits of the activities available for people with a dementia and their loved ones. They move around the group and share their products, letting them ‘try before you buy’ to see if they suit the individual. The variety of activities are demonstrated and explained to everyone at the café and the potential benefits it can bring to a person with dementia. The activities are a good way of socialising/ interacting/ and having a meaningful conversation”.
Angela Causton, Dementia Care Manager, Accord Housing Association Ltd
“It has been a very traumatic time to settle mom into a residential home. All she wants to do is ask when she’s going back to her own house. The gifts have provided us with some positive visits as it serves as a distraction” Dawn

“We took the jigsaw to the care home yesterday and Edith completed it with lots of prompting due to her Alzheimer’s. Success! She seemed much happier than on previous visits. Thank you” Daughter