An exploration of reminiscence and post-war European immigrants living in a multicultural aged-care setting in Australia

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This phenomenological study explores the experiences and perceptions of the telling of life stories of four post-war immigrants living in a multicultural residential aged-care setting in Australia. This study aims to shed light on what participants feel about life stories, and the prospect of involvement in the documentation of their life story in order to provide insight and understanding for optimum programme facilitation and better resident care.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the four participants. Data were audiotaped and transcribed. Phenomenological methods were used to explicate data.

Three main themes emerged: diminution of guilt, social sharing - common bonds and, the urge to ‘feel’ the past to ‘fill’ the present. It is apparent that aged survivors of war, and displacement to a new country, feel residual guilt regarding the leaving of their homeland. The prospect of documenting their life stories offers an opportunity to provide an explanation for their decision.

Immersion in life stories allows the re-experiencing and sharing of past emotions and sensations. Engagement in occupational reminiscence enhances understanding a person's lived life experience, which adds meaning to one's life. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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