Generate memories and discussion with a group program at the library or anywhere in your community. Everything you need is in the bag (with the exception of a DVD/CD player and some people!) Multi-media, multi-sensory resources focus on broad universal themes—decades, seasons, transportation, work, school, fashion, pets, and more. See the handout I prepared for the 2009 American Library Association annual conference.
Some Library Reviews: "Remembering Summertime is a multi-sensory treat using photographs, audio tapes, songs, poems, skits, slides and realia to stimulate recollection among older audiences in nursing homes, libraries and community centers. Every aspect of conducting a successful program is covered thoroughly in the well organized, nicely illustrated manual. There are wonderful additional ideas for programming, an annotated bibliography, and descriptions of real-audience reactions to the realia that come with the kit." Remembering Summertime—Review, Library Journal/November 15, 1983
"…the best is probably Remembering the Fashion. A kind of out-of-the-way topic for reminiscence, one look at this fine collection of 80 slides reveals that fashion is an excellent subject for both reminiscence and the study of history. The producers of the series promise in their advertising that the kit ;will look at how attitudes and events have influenced the fashion for men and women . . . and how fashion has influenced us.' The kit delivers on the promise. The selection of slides is marvelous, revealing an extraordinary depth of archival research combined with discriminating judgement. Likewise, the music, poetry, quotations and narrative are first rate. Especially notable are the songs… Review, The Gerontologist/Vol. 27, No.3, 1987
"As the Reverend Edward J. Hemphill, Jr., noted in his 1981 review in The Gerontologist of the first six of these productions, 'Anyone interested in informing, challenging, or stimulating older adults will find the Bi-Folkal Kit Series a unique and potent tool.' The latest additions to the series significantly enhance this opinion."
One librarian wrote to us: "Every library should have a set of Bi-Folkal kits!"
Another librarian (Kathy Mayo) wrote an article for her state library newsletter about the public library as a community programming resource. You can read it here. (Maybe I should have mentioned this first instead of last.)
For ACTIVITY DIRECTORS
Good programming is good public relations! When you provide programs that involve and excite your clients, your programs can be the talk of the town. If you don't have the money in your activity budget that you need to do a program the local newspaper might be interested to cover, ask to buy some resources from the marketing budget.
Our book 24 Food Programs in Good Taste includes two programs for each month of the year. One senior center took the "Oatmeal Month" program plans from the January chapter, used all our ideas and more. The story made it onto the front page of the local section of the paper. The program book—$24. Oatmeal, toppings, and posters—$32. All that positive publicity—priceless. Good programming IS good public relations. Programs that involve your clients and their families are the best advertising there is!
Whether you work in a senior center, apartment complex, retirement community, assisted-living, day care or nursing home setting, you'll find memory triggers in our program kits that are just for you. The Remembering program kits have been designed as a library resource; check with your local library to see whether they have them or can borrow them for you from another library. If not, tell them about our kits and encourage them to buy them for you and others in your community.
We've been asked to provide individual resources at a lower cost that activity directors can have on hand to use at a moment's notice. We've done that. You can choose from:
Actiphiles. These file folders include photocopy masters for a variety of activities that can be used with groups or one-to-one. Instructions for use are on the back of each activity, so these are great for you to give to your assistants or to volunteer visitors.
Sentence Starts. First Writes and More Writes each include sentence starts on 40 topics. Make a copy of a topic for a small group discussion or for one-to-one use. Some older adults will want to complete their own sheets; others will appreciate a volunteer "secretary." Collect completed exercises for each person, putting them in a folder or binder that will become a personalized discussion starter and memory book. Unlimited photocopy rights!
Skits, Cooking programs, and Birthdays, Five-A-Day. Check out the Books section for these volumes with many programs in each.
The Visit Kit Set includes resources for a dozen separate visits. A two-sided card, discussion questions and at least one three-dimensional object will prompt memories on topics ranging from courting or cure-all's to vacations or visiting. An accompanying manual is a practical guide for setting up a visiting program, recruit and train volunteers, and to keep records of the visit. A hangup rack keeps everything together.
Picture Sets can be used in small groups, for bulletin boards or hallways, and for in-room visits. Finally, focus on a single broad topic with the DVDs and CDs from a single kit and select from individual kit pieces here.
For FAMILY, FRIENDS and VOLUNTEER VISITORS
You would probably enjoy viewing any of our kit DVDs and talking about the topics they cover. Check with your library to see whether you can borrow them there. They are available individually for $50 (which includes a discussion guide).
Our three-ring binders of sentence starts are an easy resource for you to use. First Writes and More Writes each include sentence starts on 40 topics. Use the sheets as they are for an individual, or make copies. Your person may complete his or her own sheet; or you can take dictation. Put completed exercises in a folder or back in the binder for a resource to use over and over again.
Reminiscing may not be all fun and games, but this particular resource is. Our Game of Games was designed to encourage reminiscing about games played and fun that's been had. For 2–6 players of any age. This is a great intergenerational activity.
If you have the support of a local organization, consider gathering some of the resources for ACTIVITY DIRECTORS for a lending library for your organization.
For TEACHERS and INTERGENERATIONAL PROJECT COORDINATORS
There are many benefits for older adults reminiscing among themselves. But there is even more to be gained when they share those memories with younger people. Bi-Folkal materials are perfectly designed to encourage the exchange of experiences among generations. Check out this report of our project with ninth-graders and RSVP volunteers.