Keep the following in mind when facilitating a group session:
  • Group numbers should be small, no more than eight or 10 when working with older people who do not have dementia and no more than six when working with older people who have early to moderate stages of dementia.
  • For older people with advanced dementia, the group should consist of no more than three people.
  • The duration of sessions may vary, depending on the group. For a group that communicates and reminisces well, the session may go as long as 45 minutes, while a group that has individuals who are in the moderate stages of dementia should be kept to 20 to 30 minutes. Shorter portions of time should be allowed for those with advanced dementia.
  • Quiet, intimate, and comfortable surroundings are important in order to make participants feel at ease.
  • Do not use too many objects per session, as this can overwhelm participants with too much stimuli. Keep the number of objects or props to six.
  • As facilitator, it is important to do as much listening and as little talking as possible. Occasional cues or prompts may be necessary to keep the discussion flowing.
  • Ask open-ended questions that require more than yes or no answers.
  • Keep track of who has spoken during the session. Facilitators should provide support and encouragement to everyone in the group to participate.
  • Don’t be concerned if the discussion leads to subjects beyond the theme of the session; one memory can trigger others, and all are important in the reminiscence process.
Source: “Reminiscing Handbook, The Benevolent Society,” Australia, 2005. Go to: