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Dementia Friendly Underground Tour at Big Pit National Coal Museum

Sharon Ford, 14 July 2020

In May 2017 we launched a new underground tour developed with and designed for people living with dementia and their carers. The Dementia Friendly Underground Tour follows the same principles of our other tours, but with a few adjustments. Before going underground participants meet with their guide for a cup of tea and a chat and the tour is slightly shorter than normal with less figures and numbers and more history. The tours are conducted by our miner guides who have been specifically trained and many have first-hand experience of knowing people who are living with dementia. To date, over 200 people living with dementia and their carers have taken part in the tours. Our plan is to schedule more of these free, bespoke tours once the museum re-opens. Here are some quotes from our miner guides and people living with dementia and their carers, who have taken part in our Dementia Friendly Underground Tours:

“It is fantastic when you see someone with dementia talking and remembering from their past.”
“I didn’t know that he had been a miner for 23 years and his companion said it was the first time they had heard so much from him in ages.”
“The tour brought back all the memories of mining.”
"The conversation I was having with the gentleman was quite's great to think that we are able to help someone in this way"

Big Pit Miner Guide

"I was amazed to hear him having a conversation with the miner...he was remembering all the terms"

Staff member from a dementia care setting

"This gentleman has started reminiscing and even started talking about his school days. This has done him the world of good"

Staff member from a dementia care setting

Sharon Ford

Learning, Participation and Interpretation Manager (Big Pit)
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