Ways to Reminisce – by Gillian Hesketh MA
MD of Happy Days Dementia Workshop & Nostalgic Design
Reminiscing is for everyone, no matter what age – but is especially useful when visiting or caring for elderly relatives or people who are living with dementia.
Prompting fond memories can bring about conversations to share, encourage activity and enrich social well-being. I’ve picked out a few of my reminiscence ideas for you to try for yourself, with family, residents, at day centres or dementia cafes:
Research your Family Tree – or – Create your tree from the family members around you – Ideal for recording information and stories to pass on to family and grandchildren. Draw a basic tree outline – add branches and photograph to each name.
Make a Mini Photograph Album – Collect all the photographs from around your home. Sort out those boxes of photographs or large albums. Name the people in the pictures. Collate a mini photo album. Keep it handy to share with family, friends, visitors or carers.
Make a Personal Memory or Spirituality Box – Use any type of box to suit you – or decorate one. Add your favourite items and reminders from special times in your life. Help a parent, grandparent, resident or person you care for to collect tactile objects, tickets, letters which are meaningful to them. Re-visit the items to prompt and share stories – enjoy.
Write a Diary – Write a diary – or – Write a Journal: Journals have no rules. Write in any style, colour or size. Just talk about or describe which topic, person or place you choose to. Write any time and any amount – add feelings too. Your journal can be private or public.
Record Stories in a Happy Days Life Story Memory Jogger Booklet – Add stories and information about you – where you’ve been – what you’ve achieved – hobbies, favourite films, music, sport, foods; likes, dislikes and opinions. Add photographs too. Ideal to help people really get to know your preferences, should you require care at home or move into residential care.
Story Board – Use a variety magazines, brochures and/or newspapers. Glance through – Take out pictures, scenes, products or words that attract you. Decide on a theme: Things To Do – – Places you’ve been – Plans – or just for fun … Paste your choices onto a large piece of paper to create your personal Story Board. See if your collage prompts you to take action, do something new or something you’ve always wanted to do. Boards can help carers get to know the person they’re caring for and coordinate activities to suit the person.
Create a Scrap Book – Add photographs – newspaper cuttings – sketches – tickets – letters – poems.
Write a Story or Poem – How to Get Started;
Draw a large circle – Divide it into segments – Choose your segment heading: School – Teenage – Family – Work – Hobbies – Jot interesting notes about your life in each segment – Choose one section – Then pick one topic from the section – Get your pen and paper and off you go – See which stories leap onto the page
Map your Town, Village or City – Draw an outline of the area you live/lived. Label parks, shops, places of worship, work-place, cultural points, Town Hall, Police Station, Bus Station, market, pub, river, bridge, cinema, dance hall, school, local beauty spots. Use to chat about your life and interests. Ideal for residential and home care.
Your Ideas … Make a list of your own ideas for reminiscence.
If you would like to share your reminiscence or activity ideas, please email Gillian at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will share them on the website.
Shop online for social activity materials – Life Story Materials – Themed Memory Boxes and more: www.dementiaworkshop.co.uk
Happy Days Dementia Workshop ©2017