You Were There: A Reminiscing Game to Use with Older Adults


Older adults in general but specifically those older adults who are less mobile and/or have lost many of their social contacts. (i.e. nursing home residents, persons suffering from injuries or diseases limiting their ability to get out of their home, persons who have lost many friends.)


Participants will increase their self-awareness as evidenced by more frequent and more positive interaction with other people.

  • Experience positive feeling from verbalizing past life involvements.
  • Experience respect from others who value these past life involvements.


Small Group – “You Were There” can be used with small groups of 4–5 people (no more than 8) to enable each individual’s experiences of an event or place to be brought forward. A large group may be split into several small groups. Each group will have a leader who will suggest the focus, initiate the questions, provide or request props and summarize the themes that come out of the participant’s experiences. If a larger group has split into smaller groups it may be reconvened for the summaries.

Large Group – If the group is more than 8 people, the potential for each individual’s experiences to be shared aloud is diminished. However, the game may be played with a large group. Since each person could not speak on each question, individuals could be encouraged to share the speaker’s experiences vicariously. The focus and questions could be the same as for small groups.


You were there during:

  • The early day of the automobile (Model T)?
  • The depression?
  • School days?
  • Farm planting and harvest?
  • County fairs?
  • Train rides?
  • Any event, such as visits, birthdays, holidays, that day in Dallas in November of 1963.


  • What were the fashions, styles?
  • What were the foods, drinks?
  • What were the smells?
  • Who were the heroes – heroines?
  • What kind of entertainment (games, music, songs)?
  • Other


Are there any photos, scrapbooks, or objects—clothing, antiques, dishes, some tatting, etc., that could be used to stimulate memories?

Group leaders may accept responsibility for bringing in props. Participants may also be requested to bring a personal object from their past to the program session if these are available.

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Last updated: 31 October, 2013

Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or veteran status.