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Creating Football Memory Teams: Development and Evaluation of a Football-Themed Reminiscence Therapy Program

Brent L. Hawkins, Gregory Ramshaw, Taylor Hooker, Katie Walker


Reminiscence therapy (RemT) promotes maintenance of memories associated with a meaningful aspect of an in-dividual’s life and is often used with individuals with de-mentia. For many people, attendance and participation in sports is a significant part of their life’s narrative. This study evaluated a sport-based RemT program using col-legiate football memories with residents with dementia in an assisted living facility in the immediate geographi-cal area of a university football program (Clemson Uni-versity, Clemson, South Carolina). Interviews, structured observations, and measures of cognition and quality of life were conducted to evaluate the program’s impact. Statistically significant improvements in quality of life were measured; however, no changes in cognition were evident. Qualitative results indicated the program creat-ed opportunities for learning and sharing of social mem-ories related to sport, establishment of group culture and traditions, and positive behavioral change. Recreational therapists can use this study as a basis to implement their own sport-based RemT program. 

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Dementia; heritage; older adults; recreational therapy; reminiscence therapy; sport

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