"On Facebook I met old friends again": The use of ICTs in the process of reminiscence among older adults

Marije Blok, Alice de Boer, Almar Kok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Reminiscence can be beneficial for social and emotional wellbeing at older ages, yet little is known about what this process looks like as well as about Information and Communication Technologies’ (ICTs) potentials. Broader understanding would allow us to better tailor interventions and make them more effective using ICTs.
Objective: This qualitative study aims to gain insight into the process of recalling memories in daily life among independent older adults, with special attention to the role of ICTs.
Method: We used a two-step approach, starting with explorative interviews with older adults (N=20), aged 75 to 95, about their experiences with recalling memories. After this, participants used a diary to track examples of memories over three weeks. We returned to elaborate on the cases described by the participants.
Results: Four stages were derived from the data, including the start of a memory; motivations for pursuing or ignoring a memory; engagement with the memory; and next steps. We found that ICTs are used mainly at the beginning of the process as well as in the stage of engaging with the memory.
Conclusion: ICTs can facilitate sensory triggers, unlock information to complete a memory, and facilitate the company of others – either triggering or sharing memories. Whereas existing interventions mainly focus on initiating memories, often with old triggers, our findings suggest that recalling memories can play a valuable role in connecting older adults with others across age groups. ICTs can facilitate this interaction in several ways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalGerontechnology journal
Issue number2
Early online date8 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Qualitative research methods
  • media
  • memories
  • technology

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