This Kit is designed to be used by nursing homes, seniors centres, and those with dementia. It can also be used for inter-generational groups, such as a church group or Boy Scouts visiting a nursing home. It is important to remember that the ideas and activities provided in this manual are guidelines only. Feel free to use, or not to use, as many of the components as you like. You may also want to add your own activities or make up new ones using the contents of the Kit. Remember, it is the people you will be working with who are the keys to your program. They’ll be able to provide lots of great memories and stories. The Kit is simply the tool to help get people talking.
This Kit uses the time period of the 1950s as a starting point for reminiscing. It doesn’t matter how old you are, we all have memories. Sharing memories with family and friends helps to remind us of the good times, we’ve had, and yes, sometimes even the bad. Even the act of sharing memories can become one itself! However, as we get older, it’s often hard to get together with people from our past. Quite often you might find yourself in a situation where you don’t know anyone at all, people with whom you don’t think you have anything in common. That is where this Kit comes in. As stories are shared, you begin to realize that you quite often have more things in common than you thought. Strangers start to become not so scary, and the start of friendships may even begin to develop.
Depending on who is in your group, the program will vary every time. After sharing their stories, some groups may decide to compare the past to the present, as well as the future. If working with Alzheimer patients, you might not get past a few certain memories, but every little bit of reminiscing and interaction is important. Finally, if using this Kit with an inter-generational group, the older adults are able to share and pass on their stories to the next generation. And even the children will be able to share the knowledge of their short lives with the adults! If families are involved, younger members are able to learn important stories about their own history.