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Jennings supports individuals through life’s changes and challenges with residences and services that emphasize choice and person-directed care.
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Uncle Joe recalls the good old days when a Ford coupe was $500, gasoline cost 19 cents a gallon, a postage stamp was three cents, and penny candy was a treat. Grandma Millie tells stories about growing up on the farm and walking three miles to school every day… Everyone frequently reminisces and reviews life. It’s a natural part of people’s lives and is essential to human existence.
“Each time an individual tells part of his/her life story, those who listen are like a mirror, reflecting and affirming their lives.” John Kunz, founder, International Institute of Reminiscence and Life Review.
Reminiscence is a free-flowing process of thinking or talking about one’s experiences in order to reflect on and recapture significant events of a lifetime. We all live in the present, yet we still carry our “past” selves with us throughout our lives. We are part of a rich history that needs to be shared and preserved. The stories we tell about our lives are also important sources of self-identity and enable us to relate our past to the present.
Older people often lose what has defined them: family, spouses, friends, careers, and their homes. They need to remember who they were to help define who they are today. Life review offers a chance to re-examine one’s life, pursue remote memories, recall past events and accomplishments, and seek personal validation…It also tends to occur when a person is confronted with critical decisions or is faced with the end of their life. –by Kristine Dwyer, “Today’s Caregiver”
What role does reminiscing play in your life or the lives of those you love? Do you find yourself remembering past experiences? How does that make you feel? Do you spend time with your family members or friends recalling good times you shared? Items like photo albums, scrapbooks, toys, antiques, favorite music, etc. can help to generate memories, especially with those who have dementia.
The art of reminiscing promotes the core values of Jennings Center for Older Adults. When we take time to reminisce with another, we respect them as an individual, help them feel at home and part of a community, discover their hidden gifts, and celebrate the life they have lived. Let’s continue to affirm each person we meet through the gift of our listening heart.
Mission and Ministry Matters is a monthly contribution by Sister Valerie Sweeney, SND, Director of Mission and Ministry at Jennings.
"We've always felt that with our capacity we have an obligation to contribute to things that are important to us."
Jim & Joan Clark
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