European Reminisence Network

Review of RYCTT project: France

RYCTT France

A reminiscence experience in nursing homes

The non-profit association « Vivre le 3ème Age » manages 2 nursing homes in Saint-Cyprien, France. It consists of 140 employees and 170 residents. 95% of the residents suffer from degenerative illnesses. Reminiscence is in the center of our caring project.

Memory box
We are a multi-disciplinary team caring for older people with dementia, comprising doctors, occupational therapists, psychologists, care-workers and activity organizers.

For the last two years we have been exploring the use of reminiscence with our residents. This work has proved highly therapeutic in cognitive and physical terms, and has also had a beneficial effect on the family members who have participated in the project to support their relative. Furthermore it has improved and personalized relationships between staff and residents.

Memory boxes

Memory box

Memory box
Our work includes making personal "Memory Boxes" in workshops with residents around their remembered lives. The display of the resulting Memory Boxes has also enabled the residential care unit to achieve a higher profile and greater understanding in the local community.

Reminiscence workshops are organized several times a week.

The residents, families and staff get together for life projects such as art activity, music, dance…

RYCTT France

The films we made

Remember me

10 minute film: The idea is to show that the reminiscence approach is a safety guarantee for disorientated people. Reminiscence allows better patient care because people with dementia become more willing when remembering a pleasant memory. The carers have become closer to their patients so all treatments are safer. Member of the ERN our teams have had a fifteen hour specialized training. Planning’s are organized so that the trained staff can hold their weekly reminiscence workshops. The proposed activities can be individual (life story, memory box) or collective (Reminiscence breakfast). Families, staff and volunteers work together on the project.

Reminiscence: Caregivers testimony

7 minutes film: Reminiscence workshops considered an integral part of care and support for people with dementia. An experiment conducted in institution by caregivers to improve care of patients. From the moment white smock disappear caregiver reports of both parties better. Knowing a patient other than the medical file promotes dialogue, encourages the exchange and in addition improves care. A different and pertinent look then focused on the resident.

Benefits for residents, families and employees:

  • As a result of the project, participating families coping with dementia have got to know one another through sharing personal memories in a group.

    Carers and people with dementia meet others in a similar situation and extend their own opportunities for social inclusion.

    Support of the central relationships in each family between carer and cared-for by offering pleasurable personal reminiscence sessions in which they meet other families in similar situations for mutual support.

  • Reinforcement of the participants' sense of identity and self-esteem by bringing into the present information and memories of their past lives and a chance to find common ground with others

  • Reduction of the social marginalization of families who may have lost the confidence to mix socially and who need an understanding and failure-free environment



The Training

The reminiscence action began with the training (Prague, Barcelona) of two employees: Marie-France CAPARROS sociologist, responsible for social life and Mary Magdalene GASTALDI ADLER, Director of the nursing homes Jean Rostand and Louis Pasteur. They then offered the training to staff, families and volunteers working in our homes, with the intention of improving the life quality of all our residents.  

The first in-house training session was held in March 2013. The apprentice group consisted of eight people, six employees, one in-house trainee and one volunteer.

The employees were; two caregivers, a medical and psychological helper, two members of daily staff, a facilitator, the other two; a social worker in a one year training course and a volunteer facilitator and members of families. Docteur Fayaud, Psychiatrist helped the trainees and animated psychological support groups for the apprentices.

Partnership with ERN

Partnership with ERN

Our partnership project aimed to empower employees and family carers of people with dementia by giving them reminiscence and life story skills to improve communication with their relatives.

Download a PDF document which offers more detail the reminiscence work we conducted over a two-year period:

Our Partnership with ERN
Click to view

Publicity for the project


Our project was written about in several French newspaper articles:

Expo Boites Souvenirs
Expo Boites Souvenirs

Newspaper article
Newspaper article

Article about the Symposium
Article about the Symposium

Previous RTRT project

Our previous reminiscence project can be viewed on the RTRT area of the site: Click to view


Contact us

Contact us

Association Vivre le 3ème Age

Address: Route d'Alenya, 66750
Saint Cyprien, FR81 - Languedoc-Roussillon, France


Marie-Madeleine Gastaldi-Adler

Marie-France Caparros

Lottery funded

Co-funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union

Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.This website reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.