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Reminiscence and Life Story Work

Reminiscence and Life Story Work

Faith Gibson


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Reminiscence is a valuable tool for the professional carer as well as those who are looking after a family member or friend. It enhances and enriches the care relationship, and benefits both the person being cared for and the carer.

This fully-updated fourth edition is full of practical information on planning and running successful reminiscence work. It will enable carers and health and social care practitioners to develop the attitude, knowledge, understanding, values and skills they need to use reminiscence with people of all ages, either individually or in groups, and in residential or community settings. Topics covered include reminiscence with individuals and couples, inter-generational reminiscence, reminiscence with individuals from minority ethnic groups and reminiscence with people with sensory and learning disabilities, dementia, depression and terminal illness.

This book is the ideal starting point for any professional taking up reminiscence work, as well as for those who wish to deepen their knowledge and increase their ability to help those they care for in less formal ways.

This book would prove to be an invaluable tool to anyone involved in reminiscence work, from paid carers or family members to trained professionals... There is a natural flow to the chapters, making it easy to follow, and each chapter takes you through specific learning outcomes, key points and application exercises along with well-referenced further reading topics.

I found there was a strong focus on the benefits of reminiscence work, looking at different client groups and group dynamics and working with couples and clients from different cultural backgrounds.

One of the key issues for me was the need to pre-plan sessions, not to carry them out ad hoc, and to vector into the plan any expected outcomes; however, if the opportunity does arise then an unprompted spontaneous session must be seized "as the moment may not come again".

The chapters are very diverse, covering reminiscence work with many client groups including people who are depressed, those with learning disabilities and people with sensory impairments. One of the areas covered that I found particularly interesting was carrying out reminiscence work with people who are coming to the end of their life and those recently bereaved, and how this helps to celebrate their life and also helps to deal with the loss and grief process.

Finally the instructions relating to staff training and the forms provided to document sessions will prove invaluable to anyone with supervisory responsibility for staff teams currently or wanting to engage in any form of reminiscence work.

Community Care
Now updated and in its fourth edition, this is the standard and comprehensive volume on reminiscence by the leading authority on the subject. It is, perhaps, more suited to the specialist reminiscence worker (paid or unpaid). Nevertheless reminiscence plays such an important part in all sorts of care work that the manager or someone leading on integrating the use of memory and life-stories in the whole work of a care home would find this book very helpful. A feature of the new edition is the inclusion of reminiscence for all ages, even children.
Caring Times
This handbook is extremely full, informing and inspiring with detailed and helpful ideas to give reminiscence work depth and seriousness. It is aimed at a variety of professionals and volunteers, to support people of all ages, including family, friends and other staff... I have come away from reading this book having much deeper respect for reminiscence work, and wishing I had this book to hand all those years ago.
Faith Gibson OBE is Emeritus Professor of Social Work at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. She trained as a social worker and teacher in the Universities of Sydney, Queensland and Chicago, and has had wide experience as a social work practitioner, teacher and researcher. Faith is President of the Northern Ireland Reminiscence Network, and has been awarded a Dementia Care Award from the University of Sterling, a Millennium Medal from the British Geriatrics Society and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers.