‘I was impressed with the accessibility of the book, offering a guided tour through the history, context and purposes of reminiscence therapy, the range of applications from promoting social and emotional stimulation to reminiscence as psychotherapy. It also provides a brief overview of its theoretical underpinnings… As a book for health professionals interested in reminiscence work, it is a must for the shelf… most importantly it emphasizes the need for adequate training and supervision for those undertaking this type of work… the authors [also] provide a very good working guide to the assessment process’ - Aging and Health

In this practical and accessible book, leading exponents of reminiscence work describe the purposes and techniques of reminiscence and set out detailed guidelines on how to implement and conduct a wide range of reminiscence activities with different types of client.

Highlighting its tremendous diversity and potential - and its special ability to allow people of all ages and abilities to communicate deeply about their lives - the authors separate out the different aims of reminiscence, which include intellectual or social stimulation, allowing people to leave behind them a cultural legacy, or a means of intergenerational communication. They show clearly how each can be directly beneficial either to clients or their carers, or for improving the culture of the arena in which the activity is being carried out.

Purpose Four: Reminiscence to Promote Emotional and Social Stimulation

Purpose Four: Reminiscence to Promote Emotional and Social Stimulation

Purpose four: Reminiscence to promote emotional and social stimulation


Reminiscence for stimulation is similar to reminiscence for fun but it is, in fact, more purpose- or task-orientated. Reminiscence for fun has a more open-ended approach - if it works, use it. However, when used as a means of stimulation we must look more closely at client need, whether they be depressed, dispirited or have chosen to disengage.

Cummings and Henry, the proponents of ‘disengagement theory’, argued that as people grow old, they gradually slide into the role of an ‘older person’ and their rate and variety of social involvement decreases until death. However, critics quickly suggested that there are serious limitations to disengagement theory. They asked whether older ...

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