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.
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.