What happened the year you were born? What about when you turned 16 or the year you graduated from high school or college, got married or had your first child? It seemed my friends enjoyed looking up what happened the year they were born in a book on our coffee table called Chronicle of America.
As a speech-language pathologist I found this information to be a very handy tool for reminiscence and as a conversation starter so the 20th Century in Review was created. It allows you to take a walk through all the years of the 20th century with three headlines and six items that were popular during each year.
Families have found that loved ones who may not easily initiate conversation have often just listened to others share memories which sometimes resulted in their increased engagement. Activity professionals can take advantage of this resource with the accompanying CD and directions for activity modification when using the series of recall questions and category naming opportunities.
Some interesting facts
1910 The average man earned $15 for a 58-hour work week.
1928 Women competed in the Olympics for the first time.
1938 Helmets were required in college football.
1911 Electric frying pan
1920 Band-Aid Adhesive strips
1933 Ritz crackers
Speech-language pathologists working with those experiencing communication problems after a stroke or those with mild to moderate memory problems now have easy access to topics that appeal to their clients. It also is a great carryover tool after the treatment program has been discontinued and a home program has been recommended.
For brain game groups, looking up additional information on each year or more details about a happening to share with others, can provide activities appealing to many of the participants.
When a person has more difficulty, offering yes and no questions or multiple choice options suggests ways to accommodate the different levels of the functioning of those participating in the activity.
The introduction offers wide variety of recommendations for senior residences including posting information in elevators or in newsletter so families and friends have potential conversation starters when visiting. Making a copy of the special years in a person’s life can be a special way to celebrate a birthday.
Families and caregivers will also enjoy the opportunities it provides to engage several generations in conversations about a wide variety of topics. It can also be used as a resource to journal the memories of the decades of their life on topics long forgotten.
Telling stories is not just a way of passing time. It is the way the wisdom gets passed along. The stuff that helps us to live a life worth remembering. Rachel Naomi Remen