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Reminiscence Resources for People Developing Dementia

Marguerite Patten
Almost everyone of us has a family member, friend or neighbour who lives with some form of dementia. At times we can find it difficult to find topics to talk about because of the short term memory problems dementia causes. Reminiscing can be very helpful in overcoming these difficulties and is even considered to be therapeutic.

Our "memory trigger" DVDs contain a variety of film clips from the 1950s and '60s, taken from sponsored documentary films and commercials covering social and industrial history of that era in the archive collection of Greenpark Productions Ltd (est. 1938). Not being personal "home movies" they are unlikely to stir up unsettling memories but are safe to use as a reminiscence tool.

When introducing the DVDs in Memory Cafes and care homes we have found that people with dementia are very interested in looking at the footage and engaging in conversation relating to the film clips and are very happy when they relate memories of their own. Often one story leads to another and to a lively, enjoyable reminiscence session for both the people with dementia and their carers.

Where carers are from a different generation and/or nationality our film clips can be useful in giving the carer a glimpse of what life was like for the people they look after and through improved communication it can help foster a better understanding between them.

Our printed Reminiscence Guides provide suggestions for topics to talk about in the context of the clips as well as some useful background information about life in the 1950s and 60s.


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Milkman with float

"Your Living Memories work using archive film provides new opportunities for engagement and interaction and will help improve an individual's confidence, self-esteem and communication opportunities....."

Programme Lead, Long Term Conditions, NHS Cornwall


Below is a showreel of a few brief sequences from the many programmes in the Greenpark collection about life in the post-war decades. You can see more samples from the Greenpark archive collection by clicking here to visit our Archive Clips page on this website.


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