Title: Stimulating people with dementia to reminisce using personal and generic photographs

Authors: Arlene J. Astell, Maggie P. Ellis, Norman Alm, Richard Dye, Gary Gowans

Addresses: School of Psychology, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, KY16 9JP, UK. ' School of Psychology, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, KY16 9JP, UK. ' Division of Applied Computing, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland, DD1 4HN, UK. ' Division of Applied Computing, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland, DD1 4HN, UK. ' Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland, DD1 4HT, UK

Abstract: Reminiscing is a positive pastime for people with dementia but little is known about selecting materials to prompt reminiscing, particularly whether personal items are more useful than generic ones. This paper reports two small studies, the first using personal stimuli (family photographs) and the second generic photographs of annual events to examine their relative effectiveness as reminiscence prompts for people with dementia. Story telling and the types of information people with dementia produced in response to the photographs are examined. In response to family photographs, people with dementia told very few stories and produced quite limited information. When shown generic photographs, people with dementia produced quite detailed and emotional stories of personal significance. The findings suggest that personal items perform as a memory test for labels and descriptions of family events whereas generic items spark off different recollections in different people, thereby encouraging the sharing of stories and social reminiscing.

Keywords: dementia; social reminiscing; stimulation; personal reminiscences; personal photographs; generic photographs; reminiscence systems; family photographs; annual events; story telling; memory aids.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCIH.2010.037461

International Journal of Computers in Healthcare, 2010 Vol.1 No.2, pp.177 - 198

Available online: 13 Dec 2010 *

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