Participating in meaningful, interesting and stimulating activities can lead to many benefits for the mind and body. There is a wealth of evidence to supporting the benefits of reminiscence for older people, not just those experiencing dementia. Sports reminiscence provides a great opportunity to document a person's own favourite sports events, teams and moments.
Experts identify the need for meaningful activities to be provided for older people.
- The Mental Health In Later Life Inquiry in England found that "Participation in meaningful activity, staying active and having a sense of purpose are just as important for the mental health and well-being of older people as they are for younger people.
- The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued specific guidance for Occupational Therapists working in residential care homes which reported that the provision of meaningful daily activities can restore and improve the health and mental wellbeing of residents.
- The National Mental Health Development Unit published a fact file on Wellbeing in March 2011, identifying the factors most frequently mentioned by older people as important to their mental well-being include - social activities, social networks, keeping busy and ‘getting out and about', good physical health and family contact.
- In Older Men, Social Integration and Organisational Activities, Davidson, Daly and Arber 1 (2003) investigate the influence of partnership status on older men's involvement in social organisations, drawing on qualitative research. Men are found to be highly resistant to participation in organisations that cater primarily for the needs of older people. Older divorced and never-married men are more susceptible to social isolation and poor health than married men. This could be ameliorated by membership of such establishments, yet their resistance is the greatest.
"The Sporting Memories work is appealing to people (staff and residents) and draws out enthusiasm and personal information that would otherwise have been dormant. Enthusiasm for an idea is important if it is to be taken up and widely used and if it is to be effective. Training people in approaches they do not believe in will mean that either the intervention will not be used, or it will be used unenthusiastically and, as a consequence, is less likely to be beneficial to anyone. By tapping in to widespread enthusiasm for and connections with sports, Sporting Memories work can spark an eager flame in staff in the care homes and in residents. In addition, the approach is scalable (people can readily pass on the training, and can use it flexibly and creatively) and sustainable (materials can be used many times, it can adapt to the interests of residents over time, and people reported that they would continue to use the work in their homes." Evaluation of the Leeds Care Homes project 2012/13 Dr Michael Clark, PSSRU, London School of Economics