Reminiscence work with older people: The development of a historical reminiscence tool

Sigrun Huld Thorgrimsdottir*, Kristin Bjornsdottir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives: (i) To explore how reminiscence workers in older people's care define their work and (ii) to describe the development of a historical reminiscence tool containing historical developments from the older person's passage through life, intended to support reminiscence work. Background: Reminiscence work refers to the recall of past occurrences in a client's life with the intention of enhancing well-being, social skills and self-image. Design: The design of the historical reminiscence tool was informed by the model of intervention design developed by van Meijel et al. starting with problem definition followed by the accumulation of building blocks for the intervention, the design of the intervention and, lastly, a validation of the intervention. Method: Two studies were designed to develop the historical reminiscence tool. Study 1 was a focus group interview, conducted in 2008, aimed at generating knowledge about current practice and to develop the historical reminiscence tool. Eighteen women who identified themselves as reminiscence workers participated in three focus groups. Study 2 was a telephone survey, conducted in 2012 by the first author, serving the purpose of validation. The results provided information about the use of such a historical reminiscence tool. Results: Participants understood reminiscence work primarily as meaningful activity, working with personal experience and honouring the individual's memories and life story. The historical reminiscence tool containing information about important historical events and everyday life in the period 1925-1955 was welcomed by the participants. They provided numerous suggestions for improvement of the draft. Conclusion: Reminiscence work in Iceland is of the social or meaningful activity type rather than a therapy. A historical reminiscence tool containing pertinent historical information was considered helpful in strengthening reminiscence workers' knowledge of the social and historical background of their clients and person-centred care. Implication for practice: Reminiscence tools, such as books or electronic sources containing historical information pertaining to aging individuals, can enhance the care of older people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-79
Number of pages10
JournalInternational journal of older people nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Other keywords

  • Historical reminiscence tool
  • Intervention
  • Life review
  • Nursing
  • Older adults
  • Reminiscence


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