A story from a resident…….
Reminiscence refers to recollections of memories from the past. It is familiar to us all and can be utilised for the benefit of others. For people with Alzheimer’s disease encouraging the act of reminiscence can be highly beneficial to their inner self and their interpersonal skills. Reminiscence involves exchanging memories with the old and young, friends and relatives, with caregivers and professionals, passing on information, wisdom and skills. It is about giving the person with Alzheimer’s a sense of value, importance, belonging, power and peace.
Reminiscence activity and therapies are used frequently in our own lives and well as in therapeutic settings and residential care. We all use it to cope in times of stress, such as mourning, it can also help reduce injury to our self-image and it can create a feeling of intimacy and give special meaning to contact time with others.
A story shared here in Bridhaven during a Reminiscence Therapy session…….
While talking here about the appalling weather conditions overnight with some of our residents, chat started about storms, rain, thunder etc.
Mary, one of our residents that is quick witted and full of stories told us how much she hated thunder when she was younger, she even used to ‘packs her ears with cotton wool’ so she wouldn’t have to listen to the clap of thunder outside. She recalled the following which I would like to share with you…….
“I grew up in the countryside. We had a bit of a farm but it wasn’t much, we were simple people really. I had several sisters and brothers. It was what they called a ‘busy household’ back then. My father worked on the coal lorries and he would be gone from early morning till late evening. And often when he got home, having had his dinner, he would be busy fixing things around the house or some evenings he went to the pub for a few drinks. But he did always make time for us, and we loved him dearly. When I was old enough I would walk down to the end of the boreen to meet him on his way home from work and we would walk home together. This was my special time with him, when I had him all to myself.
I remember he had a big old heavy black overcoat that he wore every day. You could see him coming from away down the road with it on. I would sit on the ditch watching him walk up the boreen and he would always act surprised to see me, saying “Well Mary, is that yourself. I have the pleasure of your company to see me home” I used to be thrilled.
One evening on our walk home the evening seemed very dark. The tell-tale signs of bad weather lurking in the sky. Before we got very far, there was a huge bang of a clap of thunder. I nearly lost my life, feeling my heart drop into my boots. I ran behind my father and hid under his big coat to shelter myself from the noise of the rolling thunder. He laughed first, then he took me out from under his coat, he held my small hand in his big soot covered hands and said “Aw little one, surely you are not afraid of thunder? Sure don’t you know tis only God getting a delivery of coal!”
I was never afraid of Thunder after that day…….”
I just thought to myself isn’t that a lovely way to describe thunder to a child!
Trish O Sullivan, Senior Activities Coordinator.