DIMENSIONS Winter 2001


by Madaleine Lippert, RN, MSN
Retired Geriatric Mental Health Specialist

Note: Each issue of Dimensions features a contribution from one of the Alzheimer's groups in Washington. This article is reprinted with permission from the Alzheimer Society of Washington. To purchase either of these books, or for a copy of the complete Alzheimer Society of Washington book list call (360) 671-3316.

I Remember When: Activities to Help People Reminisce
Authors: Howard Thorshiem, Ph.D. and Bruce Roberts, Ph.D.
Elder Books, Forest Knolls, CA, 2000

Reminiscing is a meaningful, life- affirming and life-enhancing activity that all people can enjoy. It is particularly valuable in working with elderly persons.

Reminiscing can benefit people by making them feel connected with others and less alone. It can provide opportunities to develop new friendships and to develop trust in themselves and others. They feel respected, feel they have something to offer and they gain insights from others as they share their life stories.

The book I Remember When is a remarkable 167-page resource guide that could be useful to anyone helping older people with the reminiscing process. The authors provide helpful tips and suggestions about ways to encourage people to reminisce. Much emphasis is placed on the skill the authors refer to as "priming the pump" (getting the process started) and on using all of the senses during reminiscence. The authors also give examples of people in various roles using reminiscence to enhance their sense of well being and thus increase their quality of life.

This book provides ideas and information that any caregiver, family member, friend or friendly visitor could use to offer hours of pleasant, meaningful experiences for all people involved in reminiscence.

Driving Decisions Late in Life
Pacific Northwest Extension Publication No. 510, 1998

This 27-page booklet contains valuable information to be considered by any older adult who drives a car, or family member or caregiver who is concerned with their loved ones driving a car.

Several aspects of driving to evaluate are outlined, as well as helpful suggestions about dealing with driving issues. Some of the areas covered are: personal significance of driving, age-related bodily changes, signs of unsafe driving, ways to deal with problems, exploring other transportation options, and what to do when a family member who shouldn't drive insists on driving.

This booklet could be extremely useful when a person faces the "to drive or not to drive" decision later in life.

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