AN old photograph, scent bottle or a song could spark a smile from someone suffering from memory loss.

Various nostalgic items placed in memory boxes and are now available for loan free of charge at Halton’s libraries.

It is hoped families, carers and nursing homes will use the collections to inspire a conversation with their loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia.

The memory boxes are on display at Runcorn’s Halton Lea Library to give people a chance to have a look at them.

Librarians are keen to receive feedback and suggestions.

Elizabeth Gooch from Age UK started the project a few years ago to help volunteers communicate with dementia patients in hospital. It has proved very effective.

She said: “Things like postcards or adverts for food might spark off a conversation. Things they might have used like a rolling pin or a small football might give them something ro recall their past.

“People need to make contact with people with dementia. Being able to link with them on a one-to-one basis, even if it is only fleeting for a moment, is really important.

“It is more recent events in their lives that people fail to recall when they’ve got dementia.

“Having something from their past, something they can remember, might just spark something.”

She said it is wonderful to hear the laughter, companionship and conversation these items can trigger as dementia sufferers reminisce about their past.

The Halton boxes contain local photographs, books, replicas of posters, labels and pictures plus smell bottles, music CDs and objects of the time.

Different themes include war, childhood, women, men, sporting life, housework, schooldays, leisure time and special events, holidays and working life.

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