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On this day.

​Reminiscence is a well-known and well used activity if you are working with people living with dementia. Sometimes the challenge can be finding a fresh and inclusive way to approach it. If you are looking for a presentation to a group that will appeal to a larger audience as well as an activity that you can use on a 1:1 basis then ‘On this day’ is something for you to consider.

‘On this day’ isn’t a new idea. You take a specific date and research what happened on that day throughout history. You aren’t tied to a specific period in history either, so you can adapt for your audience, and you can use a multi-sensory approach. Have some fun with it!

Some research is required to build up the information you need but with the wonders of the internet it is pretty straightforward and quick to do.

As an example I have looked at the date today, when I am writing this blog; 18th September.

My first destination is a BBC website showing you the top news of the day going back to 1950. I have learnt that;

  • In 1970 Jimmy Hendrix died. So, I’ll find some film of Jimmy Hendrix from YouTube.

  • The FBI captures Patty Hearst. I will then find some information about Patty Hearst so I can read out a short paragraph about her.

Then I went to (an American site so a little biased!) where I learn that;

  • In 1830 the "Tom Thumb", the first locomotive built in America, raced a horse on a nine-mile course. I have found photographs through Google so will print one off and make sure I have some information to talk about it a little.

You can also explore . Here I have discovered that

  • In 1809 The Royal Opera House opened. If I have access to a laptop or tablet I could find some opera performances from the Royal Opera House to share.

  • In 1879 the famous illuminations in Blackpool were switched on for the first time. I could print off a photo and / or get some fairy lights for a fully sensory experience allowing you to involve someone with end-stage dementia.

  • In 1995 A Carlisle motorist was fined £140 for throwing a doughnut at a traffic warden. OK so this is pushing the envelope a little bit but you could get some donuts, cut them up so everyone gets a piece and have a jovial chat about traffic wardens! lists the UK No.1 singles for each decade. So pick one you think suits your audience and you can choose a piece of music to play.

From just 4 websites I now have hearing, vision, taste and touch stimulated by photos, film, music, a historical story, food and lights which can easily be passed around a group or shared with an individual. If you get caught up with the first item which leads into a long discussion then so be it but you’ll also have a good selection of great conversation starters to work your way through.

Jenny Trott

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