The Akula Foundation provides FREE Reminiscence Groups at area senior centers, independent and assisted living facilities and nursing homes. The groups are lead by independently contracted and licensed facilitators who are funded by the Foundation. We currently serve over 115 facilities in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, the Northshore, Lafayette and on the Gulf Coast in Mississippi.
Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, one group of individuals who had suffered relocation, physical and emotional trauma was the residents of nursing home facilities. In 2006 a program was started to provide Reminiscence Groups in the New Orleans area. The goal was to encourage the elderly to communicate and interact with a listener in the present, to reduce the effects of the trauma they had suffered.
Reminiscence is a way to relive events from our past. It is a process that focuses on the personal way we experience and remember events, rather than on chronological or historical accuracy.
Those two words can stir up a conversation or hours of entertainment; producing old memories, whether pleasant or unpleasant. The Reminiscence program has been wonderful for the community. Each facility has its own unique experiences and memories.
The Reminiscence team has been able to experience awesome benefits not only for the residents but also the staff that occasionally joins in the fun as well. It gives us great pleasure to see the smiles on the faces of the people in our group as they share their stories. In a recent retirement home group, a resident joined in for the first time stating that she was just going to sit and observe because she could not remember anything. As the group shared their stories, she could not contain herself and added her story. The smile on her face as she shared a childhood memory was priceless. She did not want the group to end.
Topics covered in the groups include but are not limited to:
- Early Family and School Memories
- Childhood Pets, Songs and Activities
- Teen-age Acting Out - Rebellion
- Special Friends, Love and Marriage
- Ups and Downs of Life Work
- Childhood Heroes, Real and Imaginary Radio and First Exposure to Television
- Childhood Town or City/ Adult Towns and Cities
- Describe the First Time You Rode in a Car, Train or Plane
- Favorite Foods or Comfort Foods and Memories Associated with Them
There are multiple benefits to the community from our reminiscence program. Research suggests that reminiscence increases life satisfaction and self-esteem. Even in older adults who suffer from dementia, the two main benefits of reminiscence are improved cognitive function and an improvement in quality of life (with a focus on improved emotions and overall happiness/mood).
So many people think that they are unable to remember events in life, but all it takes is some good people and motivation to get the memories flowing.
So take time and try out this simple phase, “Remember When”
In 2017-2018, we plan to continue to expand this program into more senior center, assisted living and nursing home facilities. For a complete list of where and when our reminiscence groups are held, please see the list on the website or call (504) 818 – 2723 for more information.