Saturday, March 19, 2011

Deeper Into Movie Memories

The four initial volumes of Movie Memories are finished, plus additional programs of Musical Memories of the 1930s and Musical Memories of the 1940s. Each has onscreen questions at the end of the film segments. This forces a halt to movie viewing and a start to discussion of what has just been watched. Show a 1942 cartoon and ask "What do you remember of the war years?" The answers can be about the films or about the viewers' lives. Seniors love to reminisce and this gives them a "Memory Hour" in which to do so. Study Guides aid the group leader in coaxing out memories. You can view all the contents and Study Guides at the Movie Memories Website.

From visiting the Activity Director at Minnesota Masonic Homes I learned there is no product like this out there, and that there is a great demand for it. Nicole Will tried it in a number of sessions and gave a glowing review, plus a few ideas for improvement.

I see myself creating more programs and fine-tuning the current ones. The field is wide open and I want to find my audience before someone else "borrows" the idea and beats me to them. I will have a lot more to say in the future about the film segments and the programs. For today I offer my latest re-write about what Movie Memories are and how they work.

Movie Memories is a new Retirement Community Activity for seniors who grew up in the 1930s through the 1960s or who raised families during those years. Each DVD volume includes nostalgic TV ads, vintage cars, newsreels, musical numbers, action trailers, TV quiz shows and comedy, Sing Alongs and excerpts from classic films.

However, Movie Memories is more about reminiscing than watching movies. While seniors enjoy the films of their youth, they will also revisit the cars and trains, homes and schools, cafés and drug stores, hairstyles and fashions, toys and sports of that era -- and memories will flood back. Movie Memories is about sharing those memories! Responding to the films and sharing can become a fresh tool for both therapy and social interaction.

Movie Memories has been tested with excellent results: “The assisted living group really LOVED it. They were engaged, had a lot of discussion and said that it reminded them of the past. They are looking forward to doing it again and would like to do it monthly. I think the new music programs will be great for Alzheimers Unit, they respond better to music.” (Minnesota Masonic Homes)

Here is how it works. A facilitator shows short films one at a time from a DVD player connected to a television or projection TV system. Four onscreen questions after each segment kick off the topics to remember and discuss. The leader then re-asks those questions or reads others from the Study Guide related to the film just screened and the era it came from.

Discussions may go in any direction they want and take as long as the participants desire. For instance, “The Fifth Freedom” could spark a discussion of favorite Bob Hope and Bing Crosby movies or how they enjoyed Arthur Godfrey and Perry Como on TV. It could also remind viewers of towns they grew up in, family life, first TV sets or how so many smoked during the 1950s. Thus several shorts can easily fill an hour with lively talk.

The purpose of Movie Memories is to open doors to the past and share what we recall. We all have memories of growing up and raising a family. What better way to revisit those days than by watching films from our formative years to jog memory and reminiscing with friends?

Please contact me if you know any Activity Directors in senior retirement communities, or ask them to visit my website.

Go directly to Movie Memories
Visit my website at Festival Films

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