August Story

Reminiscence Group Volunteer

My name is Debbie Sharpless and I am a volunteer at Salvington Lodge, a rehabilitation centre for adults. During their stay here, all patients are invited to join me in the lounge for a reminiscence group. I run the group once a week and try to ensure that the sessions are welcoming . Reminiscence is not always easy for everyone as not all memories are good, so part of my role is to be aware of how people are reacting and make sure everyone feels comfortable.

I have various tools which I use to help prompt memories. I have themed subjects such as The War, Home, Work and Leisure, Holidays and Transport. Each memory box contain photos and objects from previous decades, for example  if I bring out a scrubbing brush  as part of the Home topic, this always brings back memories of  Monday morning wash day in the 50s. It is such a good way for the patients to help each other, bouncing memories off each other and sharing things together. I use music and smell which are very therapeutic. Old songs people heard in their youth opens up memories of their young days and how it was then.  I’m often told times were better in the old days even though many people were growing up in the war years, I find this fascinating as I can’t imagine how it must have been !! So many memories and occasions are locked away and can then be remembered through reminiscence. Being part of this process of, being able to share and listen to people’s stories is a real honour and privilege for me.