Sharing and recollecting memories with seniors in long term care helps them to affirm who they are and maintain self worth.
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Sharing and recollecting memories with seniors in long term care helps them to affirm who they are and to maintain self worth.

It is also a stimulating mental activity, promoting good social interaction and strengthening friendships. Residents may benefit from listening to the wonderful and touching stories of their peers.

Reminiscing stories may be video recorded with the resident’s permission and as per facility protocols. If this is not possible, chronicle the memories in a scrapbook to share with members of the families.

You may invite families of residents to join the reminiscing session and prepare a themed subject with half a dozen questions. Choose questions that stimulate the five senses; smells, taste, sounds etc. Reminiscing taps into memories from the past that most residents are able to recollect.

Reminiscing sessions give staff a better understanding of their clients' needs, leading to improved care.

Here are some subjects for reminiscing:

  1. Technology: How technology changed our world in the past 60 years.

  2. Teachers: The influence teachers have had on your life. Most people have strong memories of one or more teachers.

  3. The 1960s: What were they doing? Which songs were they singing? Which TV shows did they watch?

  4. Nutrition: What was the food like in the past? Did people go on diets?

  5. High-School Days: Were there bullies? How about drugs, gangs, nerds, peer pressure, rock & roll, cars?

  6. Winter comforts: What are the best comforts of winter? Food, clothes, activities?

  7. Old Time Radio: Which radio ads do they remember best? Palmolive, Coty. How about radio plays? Avengers, Benny Goodman, Buck Rogers, Dad and Dave?

  8. Bedtime stories: What were their favourite stories? Were there any stories they were afraid of? Who told you stories when you were children?

  9. Road Trip Memories: First time in a big city or first time on a farm. Did anyone say: “Are we there yet?”

  10. Children’s pastimes: What sort of games did they play? Great TV shows? Comic strips magazines? Movie matinees?

  11. Medication: The most popular cough syrup, how often did people go to hospital, were babies born at home? Did home-made remedies work or were they just 'old wives tales'?

  12. Vintage Hollywood Movies: Romantic movies, best thrillers, favourite stars.

  13. Saturday Matinee Serials: Remember Zorro? The Adventures of Captain Marvel? Flash Gordon? Sherlock Holmes? How about the episodes which ended in scary cliffhangers?

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Allison 2nd Nov 2017
Another great topic is storage areas in older homes....specifically the basement and root cellars...ask...what kinds of things did you have in this area?....(attic, basement, garage)
Helen 14th Jul 2017
Does anyone have any advice regards group size? I'm going to be doing weekly sessions soon and I'm thinking of limiting it to about 8 attendees, i feel like a bigger group might inhibit some people and make it difficult for everyone to speak (if they wish).
Any thoughts on this would be gratefully recieved, thanks in advance.
Joanne 9th Mar 2016
I like using visual aids with my reminiscing...for example I took a toolbox in with old tools that had the men reminiscing and to offside that for the ladies I had an old beauty case and filled it with curlers, perfume, jewellery etc. I also got from my mother who was a teacher her training sewing sampler and that brought out many responses from residents, staff and visitors. Currently I am working on another toolbox which I am filling with mens items eg. bowtie, cravat, cufflinks, watch, pipe etc. The visual aids help those that can't hear join in with the activity and creates many fun times and storytelling.
carole 25th Aug 2015
another great topic is the old time dances, this leads into music, fashion, dating etc
Sally 16th Jun 2015
We talked the other day for over two hours about all the good things in life we did when we were younger that were "GREAT & FREE" eg picnics, church,fetes,parks,swimming ,riding a bike ,dancing,singing (the list was endless ) :)
Maryann 13th May 2015
I use Reminiscing a lot even in and during other Group or 1;1 Sessions - great conversation starter.
Also Residents like to know something that you remember too
karen 29th Oct 2014
Mothers day, fathers day, school holidays and wedding days have been successful with my reminiscing activities:)
karen 29th Oct 2014
I have had some fantastic reminiscing times.. try weddings, mothers day, fathers day and school holidays
Kim 8th Sep 2014
I find all stories told by our elderly to be fascinating ,educational and inspiring.
Sally 29th Aug 2014
Love reminiscing activities. But, one thing you need to be flexible. I tried the topic about Bedtime stories and mine reminded me that they didn't have power after dark and many of them didn't have electricity until the war. Not to worry, it is still a good idea as they talked about the dust storms and sleeping out on the grass amongst the mozzies. A lot of my ressies lived in little country towns or on properties in the outback.
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