The Past in the Present

(6 customer reviews)


Using Reminiscence in Health and Social Care

By Faith Gibson, M.A., O.B.E.

ISBN 978-1-878812-87-2
6 x 9 papercover
336 pages
© 2004

It is proven that reminiscing contributes to people’s health and well being, whether young or old. This deceptively simple activity helps people integrate and find meaning in their life experiences. In The Past in the Present you will find a diverse collection of methods—both formal and informal—for working successfully with individuals, couples, and groups.

Anyone in a caregiving role can reap the rewards of using reminiscence. Author Faith Gibson, a renowned reminiscence expert, provides all the tools you need, from the commonplace to the unique, to help others

  • improve life satisfaction
  • build self-esteem
  • resurrect coping and problem-solving skills
  • enhance communication
  • diminish social isolation
  • develop deeper relationships

You’ll find the most productive formats for constructing and recording the life story, techniques to unlock therapeutic barriers, multisensory triggers that stimulate recall, themes and topics to elicit memories, and intergenerational activities that reach young and old alike. An entire section compassionately guides you in using reminiscence in dementia care, including home care, adult day centers, and in residential facilities. Plus, learn how reminiscence can be used as a dynamic tool for staff development, improving the skills and care delivery of direct care staff.

The Past in the Present is an essential reminiscence resource for nursing staff and paraprofessionals, social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists, activity directors, recreation therapists, professionals providing training programs for volunteers and family caregivers, community groups, and schools and college programs proving community service and intergenerational outreach. Instructors in gerontology and related disciplines will find this an insightful, essential addition to their curricula.

Practical Resources:

  • Reproducible forms and charts
  • Diverse case examples
  • Timeline of U.S. cultural/historic events
  • International resource list

About the Author
Foreword by Barbara K. Haight

PART I: Reminiscence Theory and Values

  1. Reminiscence, Age, and Memory
  2. Why Encourage Reminiscence?
  3. Staff Development Through Reminiscence

PART II: Reminiscence Practice

  1. Planning and Preparation for Reminiscence Work
  2. Engaging in Reminiscence Work
  3. Translating Reminiscences into Tangible Representations
  4. Promoting Social Inclusion Through Reminiscence

PART III: Reminiscence Practice in Dementia Care

  1. Memory, Dementia, and Creativity
  2. Reminiscence at Home and in Dementia Day Centers
  3. Reminiscence in Dementia Residential Facilities


  • Appendix A: Personal History Form
  • Appendix B: Sessional Group Attendance Form
  • Appendix C: Group Activity Form
  • Appendix D: Clearance Form
  • Appendix E: Twentieth-Century U.S. Historical Events
  • Appendix F: Quick Reference Age Grid
  • Appendix G: Life Review and Experiencing Form


The Past in the Present : Using Reminiscence in Health and Social Care (Gibson excerpt) by HealthProPress

Faith Gibson, M.A., O.B.E., is Emeritus Professor of Social Work in the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. She holds degrees in psychology, education, and social work and is a graduate of the Universities of Sydney, Queensland, and Chicago. While a student at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, she received awards from the University of Chicago and the American Association of University Women as well as a Fulbright travel award.

While her earlier social work career was in the child care field, Faith Gibson has been interested in social work practice, policy, research, and teaching concerned with social work, social gerontology, dementia care, and reminiscence theory and practice.

6 reviews for The Past in the Present

  1. admin

    “Gibson’s astute observations … allow the reader to develop confidence in and enthusiasm for reminiscence as a powerful tool for increased life satisfaction, identity enhancement, creativity development, social interaction, and community involvement.”
    –Aging & Society

  2. admin

    “This book is innovative, practical, and filled with creative strategies for reminiscence work with older persons … a helpful resource for palliative care social workers”
    –Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care

  3. admin

    “both practical enough to be a helpful resource to ‘hands-on’ practitioners … and academic enough to be an invaluable ‘one-stop’ shop for those seeking an overview of the reminiscence field of study.”
    -Journal of Dementia Care

  4. admin

    “…a valuable contribution to understanding the processes of reminiscence and their benefits for use with older adults.”
    -James E. Birren, Ph.D., Associate Director, UCLA Center on Aging

  5. admin

    “wide-ranging … impeccably researched … accessible, informative and inspiring. …exactly what care workers, their managers, family members and older people themselves will want to read and read again.”
    -Professor Joanna Bornat, coeditor Oral History

  6. admin

    “Faith Gibson writes with the authority and wisdom derived from long experience as a pioneer in the field.”
    -Professor Peter G. Coleman, President, International Institute for Reminiscence and Life Review

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