Review of reminiscence books

Remembering Yesterday, Caring Today: Reminiscence in Dementia Care


Pam Schweitzer and Errollyn BruceJessica Kingsley ISBN 9781843106494

Looking at other reminiscence books on the shelf, good as they are, I can’t find anything as creative and thoughtful as this guide to good practice from the Bradford Dementia Group.

One of the standout features is the inclusion of family carers in reminiscence work. This appears not only to help the person with dementia in accessing long-term residual memory, but also to enrich family relationships which have often become impoverished through anxiety and change.

It is a relationship-centred approach. However, the methods described also apply to those who do not have a family carer to join in.

The Remembering Yesterday, Caring Today project was developed by the European Reminiscence Network to help families cope with dementia at home. A group of people with dementia and their carers are brought together for 12 sessions, each based on a different theme, such as childhood or holidays.

Objects, the arts and sensory stimuli are all used to trigger memories. Also included are chapters on the person-centred approach to dementia and training for staff and volunteers.

This book will help everyone working with people with dementia and their carers, including trained reminiscence workers.

My only criticism is that it inadequately covers diversity issues, and does not give enough attention to the fact that some people may access very unhappy memories.

Joy Bounds is a retired social worker

This review is published in the 15 October issue of Community Care magazine

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