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Sharon Daltrey wins 2024 Dementia Care Innovator Award for Timeless Presents activity boxes

A husband and wife team have won recognition for developing games for people living with dementia.

Sharon and Chris Daltrey, of St George’s Avenue, Sheerness, started their business Timeless Presents at the start of 2022 as Sharon’s dad went through the later stages of Alzheimer’s.

Sharon and her husband, pictured with her dad Brian Parker, left. Picture: Sharon Daltrey
Sharon and her husband, pictured with her dad Brian Parker, left. Picture: Sharon Daltrey

Brian Parker was diagnosed with the disease in 2002 and lived with it for 17 years before he died in 2019, aged 88, in a Hastings care home.

During the later stages of his life Brian experienced dementia-related conditions, found communicating difficult and lost much of his memory.

Sharon often found when she would visit him that he would only be engaged with her for a few minutes, so the 63-year-old searched to find activities which would allow her to spend more quality time bonding with her dad.

She found out that the disease affects short-term memory first, while childhood memories remain for much longer.

As a result, she bought some simple toys and games that would be instinctively familiar to Brian and that would require little or no explaining.

Sharon Daltrey collecting her award
Sharon Daltrey collecting her award

But the Daltreys found there was a gap in the market and that their experience could offer help to other people whose loved ones were living with dementia.

So they started up Timeless Presents which sells three different products – a seaside jigsaw, a curiosity box full of tactile toys and objects, and a colouring book – all of which are designed to provide familiarity and are accredited by the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) at Stirling University.

Sharon has now been recognised for the products after winning the 2024 Dementia Care Innovator Award.

It was presented to her during a two-day ceremony which took place on Friday, June 14 and Saturday, June 15 at ExCeL London.

Sharon, a former call centre trainer at BT, said: “I loved my dad dearly and caring for him while he had dementia was very tough.

The seaside jigsaw puzzle. Picture: Sharon Daltrey
The seaside jigsaw puzzle. Picture: Sharon Daltrey

“ I was desperate to reconnect with the man who raised me, so I tried everything to make him more engaged.

“The company has been a way of channelling my pain over losing my dad and helped me to get over my grief.

“It now helps to remind me of him every day and the products are his legacy and it's good to know that the things that have helped us are now helping other people.

“We realised that familiar sights and sounds from his life still engaged him, so we looked for more activities to stimulate some more happy moments for us both.

“We spent some really lovely days together inspired by the activities.

The Curiosity Box features picture cards, a spinning top, buttons and twisting blocks
The Curiosity Box features picture cards, a spinning top, buttons and twisting blocks

“When I started making our Timeless Presents I did not set out to do it for the recognition, I just wanted to help my dad, and now I want to help other carers caring for their loved ones.

“Winning a Dementia Care award is a wonderful achievement for Chris and me, but if it means more families get to reconnect with their parents, that will be the real prize.”

Sharon currently works from home, using a Folkestone toy manufacturer to make the gifts, but hopes to expand the social enterprise firm in the future and have a permanent base on Sheppey.

Products range from £9.99-£34.99. For more, and to buy, visit timeless presents.com

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