Agora Association
First reminiscence center in romania



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What reminiscence is?


Reminiscence sessions

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Asociatia Agora - Primul centru de reminiscente din Romania

Reminiscence centers


What reminiscence is and how to run a reminiscence group
Coordonating reminiscence sessions
Confidentiality and planning reminiscence sessions
Evaluating reminiscence sessions
Advantages for beneficiaries
Advantages for take-carers
Examples of themes



Advantages for the caretakers

Informal interactions implying reminiscence methods are generally an apropriate and highly recommended interaction method.

Formal reminiscence stimulation activities should offer the proper context for the involvement of elderly individuals in creative activities, which should be carefully planned, organized and evaluated.

From the care staff’s point of view, reminiscence activities are a substantial instrument for appreciating the patient’s personality, as it reminds them (and the caretakers at the same time) that they are human beings (not just bodies affected by a disease), possessing a valuable life experience and being able to share interesting information about their professional, social and personal past. Formal and informal care staff often mention how helpful reminiscence sessions have been for a more personal relationship with the individuality of the attended person, who has thus been reminded that he/she has a personality, a past and a lot of things to share. After the proper training, attendants of such patients have learned to treat patients as individuals that have a life experience, and not as just sick people that need to be taken care of due to their deficiencies. This way, the mentality and perspective of attendants can change, so that they shouldn’t think about the patient as just „the lady I have to take to the bathroom every other hour”. Getting involved in the patient’s personal life and experiences also personalizes the relationship between patient and attendants, making it at the same time more human and also efficient.

More than that, attendants can develop better communication skills, improve social interaction and better stimulate and train patients they are taking care of in various instrumental activities. All these, doubled by a lot of creative ideas that may stimulate memories and feedbacks, can grow into a substantial source of professional satisfaction.

By using reminiscence activities in their formal sense, care staff has the opportunity to make time pass in a stimulating and thus efficient way for the patients.

Formal or informal attendants should be aware that reminiscence stimulation techniques are a part of various activities that elderly people can chose or not in order to make time pass in a pleasant manner. No matter of what they decide to do, their choice should always be taken into account and respected.

There are many arguments in favor of using reminiscence activities on elderly people that are dependent on their attendants to take care of them, organize their time and help them perform various jobs. Some of these arguments can also work for independent elderly people.

One of the main arguments is that remembering the past creates a very important opportunity for the attendants, that is to participate (even if in a passive way) to the remembered past and, through this, having a look into the very personal life of the patient.

For elderly people in institutions, as well as for those that cannot leave their home anymore or are lacking of friends and visitors, the chances to spontaneously talk about their past (which is, in fact, their life) are quite rare, except if their attendants creates special occasions and contexts in order to facilitate this remembering process. Conversations about fragments of their past life and reminiscence activities in organized groups can certainly ensure the appropriate medium for elderly people to communicate, feel appreciated and stimulated to share their personal histories.

Reminiscence can be an extremely interesting and resourceful opportunity to find out more about who we are. It is suggested that understanding and getting to know the personal history and roots of an individual represents the foundation of individual identity and trust in one’s own capacities. It is thus of high importance to sustain and help people remember who and how they used to be, even if this happens quite difficult sometimes due to mental deterioration; this helps rediscover and keep one’s personality and can also be an instrument to sustain spiritual health and well being.

Another argument in favor of these activities is the one stating that, for individual having at the present a more passive existence, the past can offer a valuable conversation topic, generating social interaction and involvement, in spite of age or health differences. One of the assets of reminiscence is that these activities can be applied in big number of pleasant activities like music, painting, dance, theatre, up to practical activities like gardening, knitting, etc, all stimulating more memories and conversation. These activities allow gathering various generations, social statuses and groups, just as long as they have reminiscence stimulating activities in common.

Actually, reminiscence practice creates opportunities for an active involvement of deficiencies suffering individuals, whose lives may be affected by the decline of psychophysical capacities. Long-time memory, the one activated by reminiscence activities, remains operative long after other mental capacities have started to diminish. These activities are in most cases successful as they use remaining abilities of the patients, so that individuals involved gain the feeling of actively participating to the group sessions. That, is, they gain the lost sense of usefulness, which is a very important step.

Reminiscence activities are always successful in stimulating those individual capacities in which the subject has, at a certain point in his life, been an expert in. Elderly people may decide on their own whether they whish to share certain personal experience with the rest of the group, but in most cases they experience strong satisfaction and content when they see that people listen to them, that what they say proves to be important and interesting to others. Boasting with what they once used to be / to be able to do/ to know creates, for the majority of elderly people in this situation, the rare occasion to feel useful and praised, in a society that pushes elderly people to the edge of social activity, making them feel useless and feel unwanted. Being old mustn’t; thus, mean being a mere object that society isn’t interested in anymore.

Besides the above-described benefits of reminiscence activities, we may also mention the satisfaction and joy shown by the majority of elderly people when they enter a reminiscence group; this itself should make for a sufficient argument in favor of making the effort to give some time and attention to this special care method.











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