Training volunteers to run reminiscence groups: The EQUAL Project

This source preferred by Jonathan Parker

Authors: Parker, J., Penhale, B., Bradley, G., Manthorpe, J., Gynnerstedt, K. and Pierrot, L.

Journal: Health Care in Later Life

Volume: 3

Pages: 285-298

The EQUAL (Enhancing Quality of Life for People with Alzheimer's Disease) project is a cross-national study with partner groups in the UK, France and Sweden. It developed from a reminiscence project first conducted b student social workers at the University of Hull in local health and social services department establishments in response to a call in 1996 from the European Commission for project proposals concerning Alzheimer's disease. This article describes the way in which the EQUAL project recruited, selected and trained volunteers in the running of reminiscence groups, and the importance of this for social and health care services in the contemporary context. The rationale for wanting to select and train younger volunteers included the wish to develop intergenerational contacts, to promote the value and worth of older people with dementia and volunteers, and to develop an awareness and appreciation of difference. The project has established greater links with services for older people and a commitment to continued joint training and work in this area. Volunteers have acquired skills in reminiscence work and developed intergenerational relationships, as well as an increased understanding of marginalization and its effects on older people, in particular those with dementia.

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