Reminiscence is the perfect Valentine’s gift. A great Valentine’s for your client is you, the care manager, or a caregiver, using reminiscence to gather a client’s memories.
Reminiscence isn’t new. Before the printing press, storytellers and bards were how history was recorded-
You can watch The History Channel to learn about the history of the world. But History also exists in a family, and you can make older family members oral storytellers on Valentine’s Day.
Storytelling only works if the teller remembers the lines. Family history has to be captured when the older person still remembers. So, holiday events are a perfect time to tap into that font before it flickers.
Here are five ways to use reminiscence to capture these family tales during Valentine’s visits with older clients or family—Today is a perfect dau to do this.
1. First, arrive with a real Valentine’s card. Just the card and the gift evoke memories
2. Reminiscence is a Valentine’s gift when you use empathetic listening. Make all the messages you give the older person— tone, how fast you speak, how they are sitting- say, “I want to listen to you.” This is a gift to an older person, as few people listen to them as they age.
3. Reminiscence is a Valentine’s gift when you ask questions that prompt the story but don’t make judgments. If you are going to record the family tale on your iPhone, record it in a way that doesn’t distract or stop the older person from talking.
4. Reminiscence is the perfect Valentine’s gift when viewing old family photos as memory prompts.
5. Start somewhere. If the elder isn’t going to tell stories on his or her own, start the story and see if they will follow along.” Did you go to Valentine’s parties as a kid or celebrate the day in school by exchanging valentines?” Did you have a special Valentine as a teenager or young adult?”
6. If the client has dementia, you can still do this with reminiscence prompts like a Valentine, chocolate, some flowers, old photos, or a simple Valentine decoration you bring.
7. Or contact the family, if they will visit or call, and teach them how to do reminiscence and do this each holiday they may spend with the older loved one.
7. Use technology tools to help you with this legacy building for your older client, like Life Bio- or
to catch the memory on your phone.