Reminiscing is an important activity for everyone. We all cherish our happy memories and enjoy talking about them.
It is a familiar activity; we all reminisce at one time or another - even a young child will sometimes say: 'when I was a baby'. Sometimes busy people like to remember when they had few responsibilities; others love to talk about 'the good old days'.
Reminiscing refers to the casting of one's mind back to times gone by; to being nostalgic about happy experiences in our lifetime.
Reminiscing is a wonderful way for elderly people to feel a sense of purpose, especially those suffering from dementia. Experts in the field of aging say that as we age, reminiscing takes on a greater significance. There are many advantages to reminiscing with the elderly in residential care facilities.
Formal: Videos, movies, slides, diaries, journals, Life Review (structured reminiscing) and pictures.
Casual: Questions & Answers, Themes, storytelling, feeling textures, touching objects.
Reminiscing sessions can be conducted one on one, in groups or with family.
Related: How to Conduct a Reminiscing Session
A casual visit to a resident is an opportunity to reminisce about a theme of his choice or from a conversation you start. If you are doing a room visit, look around at pictures or objects inside the room to start the conversation. Allow the residents to talk at his pleasure and listen attentively; let them take you where they want to go. Residents may say things to you they don't tell their families. One on one reminiscing promotes communication and strengthens rapport with staff.
One of the best ways to promote social contact in a residential setting is by matching people with similar interests into small groups; 3 to 4 people and holding regular sessions to develop trust and rapport.
The focus of reminiscing can be an event, an era, past lives, themes such as 'spring' or 'Pets' or 'Favourite Toys'.
|School Days Reminiscing|
|I Remember my Father|
|Fishing Trips (for men)|
|Sewing Kits (for ladies)|
|The Depression Era|
|The Early Days of TV|
|The best birthday you ever had|
|Your first rock concert (for baby-boomers)|
Related: 13 More Themes for Reminiscing
Reminiscing should focus on pleasant memories but sometimes the person may recall unhappy memories which can upset them.
A 'Life Review' is a structured review of one's life from the earliest memories to the most recent memories.
Life Review is a process by which you can help people overcome issues from the past. The concept was developed by Dr. Barbara Haight, director of a Gerontological nursing program at the Medical University of South Carolina, US.
According to studies conducted by Dr. Haight, most subjects are significantly more satisfied with life after a Life Review session. This was true for both people living at home and those in residential care facilities.
The Life Review process helps people to deal with traumatic events from the past.
Leisure & Lifestyle staff are perfectly capable of conducting Life Review sessions however some training is necessary. If you are interested, approach your manager and enquire about the possibility of education and training in this area.
What reminiscing themes have worked well with your clients?
We would love to hear your feedback.