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A Trip Down Memory Lane

Seniors at MWS Active Ageing Centre – GreenTops@Sims Place create boards of photo collages and reflective notes for a Reminiscence Facilitation programme

In a gingerly manner, Madam Song approached the group of six seniors who had gathered for the inaugural 6-session Reminiscence Facilitation programme held at MWS Active Ageing Centre – GreenTops@Sims Place. She whispered to the facilitator that she will not be able to contribute much as she is neither “rich nor smart” and has no friends. 

Many seniors like Madam Song experience social isolation and low self-esteem when they have little or no next-of-kin support.

Recognising this trend in an ageing society, the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) developed an evidence-based Reminiscence Facilitation programme along with a toolkit “Come, Let’s Chat” to create a safe and supportive space for seniors to share memories and connect with each other. 

Numerous studies have shown that reminiscing can significantly boost seniors’ life satisfaction and emotional well-being.

The "Come! Let's Chat" toolkit encourages seniors to share memories and connect through conversations

SUSS facilitators guided the seniors using tools like food and music to help them relive youthful memories and affirm their identity.

Throughout the sessions, the 18 seniors and volunteers engaged in animated and joyful conversation as they bonded over recollections of past events. MWS utilised a validated research tool to measure outcomes among nine seniors, and the results showed significant improvement in their psychological well-being after the group work. This underscored the efficacy of reminiscence in promoting the emotional health of seniors. 

A close-up of a senior's photo board of reflective notes

Meeting regularly over a period of six weeks had also resulted in a strong sense of camaraderie among the seniors. Madam Song was visibly happy when she shared this closing thought with her facilitator, “Although I’ve had bad memories in life, there were also positive experiences that I could share here.” Each participant also took home a board with photo collages and reflective notes from the sessions. 

MWS hopes to incorporate this programme in our outreach to seniors in the community, and welcome dedicated volunteers who would like to be trained in conducting reminiscence activities at our MWS Centres. Contact RITA@ mws.sg for more details and Come, Let’s Chat!

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