European Reminisence Network

Review of RTRT project: Czech Republic

Czech Republic RTRT

Memorable moments that took place in our RTRT group

  • “I am so happy, that I have found those old photos, I didn´t know we had them. I was so surprised, especially with the one where mother is sitting on the camel! Lots of memories came out”

    A lecture give by a person with dementia about the composer, Gustav Mahler

  • Creation of collages (family carers together with persons with dementia)

  • Collaboration with artists – their empathy for people with dementia, their abilities to help people retrieve their memories and to help them use these memories to make beautiful and valuable products

  • Evident pleasure and joy of the people with dementia from their participation in the creative work with their memories

The main things we have learned

RTRT

Successes to build on:

  • Participation of people with dementia on creative work with remininiscence with the support of family members is possible and brings everybody lots of joy – it improves their quality of life

  • ArtsInvolvement of artists brings new dimensions and open new possibilities for the use of memories of old people with dementia

  • It is an exceptional experience for everybody – also for the family members, for the artists and for the coordinators

Pitfalls to avoid:

  • “Care for a person is very hard. Use of reminiscence stimuli is interesting and new at first, but later it is the same like other activities – it becomes boring and takes time”

    Carers have an urgent need to talk about the care, the problems, the accessible services and their quality

  • They need to share the experience so we must recognize that for them reminiscence is not the only aim of the meetings

  • The meetings take time and this must be allowed, so that people do not feel rushed

  • It is really necessary to concentrate on the communication with people with dementia, to make space for them 

  • The ground-rules for the group activity and the structure of the time we spend together is very important

The main things that the carers in our groups learned about reminiscence

RTRT

  • “It was something extraordinary for us, our children started to be interested in the grandmother, we can all sit and talk together about memories. Some new things from our past were discovered”

    They realised, that they still have  the possibility to discover something about the past lives of the family and of their relatives

  • They discovered old photos, diaries, pictures, documents and other things and how useful these things could be in improving the quality of the care they could give to their relatives

  • They felt joy when they discovered that something they had seen working in the group situation of the sessions could also work at home

  • They were proud if they got an interesting idea how to use reminiscence for the improvement of the quality of life of their relatives with dementia (decided to help the person to participate at the meeting of alumnus, to go with them to their home village, to visit wardrobe department of a film studio etc.)
    they realised, that it was necessary to go out and continue social life together with people with dementia – they were motivated to buy a wheelchair, to go to exhibitions, to the concerts etc., as they had done in their earlier lives

What the people with dementia in our groups gained from the project:

RTRT

  • “It was so nice, I wish so much to meet again”

    Something was added to their quality of life: it was a sort of health promotion (they moved out of their flats, the enjoyed the society of other people, they felt the  atmosphere of the café)

  • They gained a sort of energy and they really enjoyed the resulting increase in capability

  • They felt valued and in control when they were involved creatively in the process of making artistic products around their memories, such as a game, a landscape, cups and plates with the pictures they had chosen)

  • They expressed that they would have liked to meet again, to continue...

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Using the arts

Using the arts in our reminiscence groups

We co-operated with two artists in our RTRT groups:

Benefits: it is an occasion for the artist to enter in deep contact with the person with dementia – somebody is intensively interested in the person, who usually feels excluded and helpless. Also the carers and other people support this process, which finally brings a beautiful result. It brings joy to all participants, and a feeling of success.

Challenges: if the connection doesn´t occur (because of the progress of the disease or because of misunderstanding from the side of the artist, or other people participating in the process) we must appreciate the friendly approach, for example the patience and kindness of the waitresses in the café.

A table game

Products we made

Porcelain-ware (cups and plates) decorated with the memories of people with dementia (photos)

A table game (specially connected with childhood) with figures decorated with portraits of important people the person with dementia had chosen

A landscape where a woman with dementia spent her childhood

Future plans

Plans for future reminiscence work in dementia care:

We want to share our experience in the training courses for staff of the care homes for older people and other professionals – reminiscence is a wonderful tool to develop positive cooperation with families and to support many interesting activities with the service users

We also want to organize regular conferences on the topic of reminiscence work – to give together people who are interested in this field a chance to consolidate their knowledge and experience.

Plans to develop reminiscence projects in other contexts:

We have cooperation with a dance therapist (Petr Veleta) and we shall be developing new work together.

We will also publish an article about the RTRT project.

Our next RYCTT project

Our next reminiscence project can be viewed in the RYCTT area of the site: Click to view

Contact us

Contact us

Centrum pro sociologii medicíny a zdravotnictví (Centre for Health and Medical Sociology) CESMEZ
email cesmez@centrum.cz
web www.cesmez.cz

Hana Janeckova
email
janeckova.hana@post.cz

Eva Krizova
email evakriz@centrum.cz

Lottery funded

Co-funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union

Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.This website reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.