The narrative in ageing: the role of experience

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The narrative in ageing: the role of experience

Project Stage:
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The project aims to encourage a group of older people to talk about their life with the biographical method through the sharing of meanings

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

“ Getting old is a privilege and a purpose of the society. It is also a challenge, and it has consequences on all the aspects of the XXI century society”. This is one of the messages proposed by the OMS about the theme of elderlies ‘health. This theme has nowadays an increasing importance for our society, which is living a sort of “demographic revolution”: in 2000, there were around 600 millions over-sixties in the world; in 2025 they will be almost 1,2 billons; in 2050 almost 2 billions. The aging process has as a consequence the loss of cognitive, emotional and social abilities and this could lead the elderly to physic disabilities and diseases, such as depression and apathy. Many studies demonstrate that intellectual stimulation is fundamental in order to maintain psychic and physical resources and a good quality of life. For this reason, it is very important to create situations in which the elderly people can operate actively and usefully, so that they can feel protagonists of their own life. The active role of elderlies is a means to fight the phenomenon of social alienation and it works as an antidote to depression and loneliness. The rewriting of the dominant themes of his own biography allows to change the repetition of negative mental narratives that cause suffering emotional. The autobiographical narrative reaches its highest potential when it makes use of writing, since they build a text that speaks of self can be used to rework what you plan to translate it in writing. The psycho-social intervention of reminiscence has among its objectives to stimulate autobiographical memory, the set of memories of the past life which helps to determine the identity of a person. At this stage of life we tend to turn our gaze to the past and memories of personal events experienced. Dwelling on past history, significant moments of their existence allows you to search according to the theory of the life cycle of Erikson, a sense of continuity and consistency.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The activities involve an active role of the elderly, both in terms of participation in decision-making, through sensory stimulation (music, photography, poetry) to bring up memories and stories develop. Improving the Quality of Life. Increase the individual's ability to integrate positively and actively in the social circuit, preventing forms of isolation, premature aging, Increase through the sharing and development of self-esteem and creative resources, self-determination by encouraging their participation, Decrease the sense of loneliness and improve mood, Encourage socialization and foster communication, Increase the personal power to improve the autonomy in everyday, stimulate and activate the cognitive functions in particular autobiographical memory, Reduce the sense of alienation Stimulate creativity.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Promotion and dissemination of the initiative in places frequented by elderly people. Taking contacts with local authorities, social security institutions, pharmacies, and general practitioners in order to create a group of twenty elderlies who will take part into the project, to create the network and combat loneliness, organizing individual or collective formative meeting. Encourage active participation through the involvement and create the working group Stimulate and activate the cognitive functions in particular autobiographical memory through the stimulation of the memories that will be collected in a final paper (book publishing to be presented to the families and community) Encourage the development of social interactions, counteracting the isolation of the elderly.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Many studies collect and publish life stories and demostrate that intellectual stimulation is fundamental in order to maintain psychic and physical resources and a good quality of life. The competitive aspect is represented by the union of two psychotherapeutic methods. The gestalt method that allows the creative stimulation and emotional expression. The psychodynamic approach enables the processing of emotions and the attribution of meaning to experience. Another competitive aspect is the involvement of families in the process of sharing the experience through the publication of the book.
About You
About You
First Name


Last Name


Implementer(s) and cooperation partners

Department of Public Health and Paediatric Sciences



Country where main implementer is located

, TO

How long has the main implementer been operating?

More than 5 years

Please provide a short description of the main implementer.

The Department of Public Health and Pediatric Sciences organizes research and didactic activities concerning Hygiene, Microbiology, Clinic Microbiology, Medical Statistics, Pediatry, Infant Neuropsychiatry, Occupational medicine, Legal Medicine and Nursing.

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Cooperation partner

Prati-Care Onlus


Non-profit/NGO/citizen sector organisation

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? What competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Support and aid to poor families, in particular in the metropolitan area of Turin, with activities of distribution of food, clothes and school supplies. Analysis and comprehension of social needs, with particular attention to elderlies

Cooperation partner

Rosanna Cuccia



How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Psychologist and Psychiterapist
Consultancy and formation of projects addressed to people with mental diseases, also in hospices. President of the association AltraForma, promoter of activities concerning health psychology and wellness.

Cooperation partner

Lorenza Garrino



How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Researcher in Nursing Sciences Professor at the Master Degree in Nursing and Midwifery and Post graduate courses. Author/Co-Author of forty research papers published since 1988. The main lines of research relate to narrative medicine, organizational development, evaluation of care

Cooperation partner

Tiziana Gazzetto



How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Psychologist and psychotherapist. Consultancy and analysis of projects addressed to people with social and work problems.Participation to the research project “Rete, promozione e sostegno degli anziani” (Connection, promotion and help of elderly people) promoted by the Social Cooperative CHRONOS

Problem and solution
Which of these fields of Active and Healthy Ageing are addressed by your initiative?

Social inclusion (intergenerational practice, work and volunteering), Age friendly buildings, environments, and communities.

If none of the above, answer here:
Please describe if and how your stakeholders (cooperation partners, funders, users, etc.) have been participating in defining the problem and developing the solution.

Two psychologists and psychotherapists will choose select the participants and they will inform them of the project during individual or collective meetings. They will conduct group meetings every two weeks to stimulate and active cognitive memory in particular autobiographical memory in the elderly. Meetings will last 90 minutes. Sensory stimulation with the use of objects to facilitate memory (music, smells, photos). Processing affectivity linked to memories. Collection of memory and poems in a final written book, to share the experience gained and the results produced with the citizens and families.
The researcher in Nursing Sciences and the Departement of PublicHealth Sciences provide to develop the design of study, the methodology and the the evaluation. Approach to qualitative inquiry it will be used in research process.
The Prati-care Onlus association contributes to improve the network and promotes the inclusion of vulnerable elderly people.

Has your solution been tested in trials, experimentations, or pilot projects? If yes, please describe the process and outcome.

Barbisio C.G. Il recupero dell’esperienza attraverso la narrazione. Tirenia Stampatori, Torino, 1994
Castellano S. Pensare narrando. Centro Scientifico Editore, Torino 2008
Cima R. Moreni L. SoldatiM.G. Dentro le storie. Educazione e cura con le storie di vita. Angeli, Milano1999
Garrino L. La medicina narrativa nei luoghi di formazione e di cura, Edi.Ermes- divisione Centro Scientifico Editore, Milano 2010
• Demetrio D. Raccontarsi – L’autobiografia come cura di sè .Cortina Editore, Milano, 1996
• Leone L, Prezza M. Costruire e valutare i progetti nel sociale. Franco Angeli, Milano, 2003.
Maioli S, Mostarda MP. La formazione continua nelle organizzazioni sanitarie. Roma: McGraw Hill, 2008
Poggio B. Mi racconti una storia? Il metodo narrativo nelle scienze sociali. Carocci Roma 2004
Tonkin E. Raccontare il nostro passato. Armando Editore. Roma 2000.

How long has your solution been in operation?

for less than a year

Please select the relationship between your solution and related solutions currently established in our society. Is your solution…

complementary (your solution is complementing existing solutions and compensating their weaknesses while not intending to substitute them)

What barriers might hinder the success of your initiative? How do you plan to overcome them?

Occurrence of resistance phenomena and liabilities; difficulty in understanding the potential of the intervention; difficulty to transfer and maintain over time acquisitions; presence of other projects in conjunction.
How to overcome them?:
Conduct a preliminary assessment to promote knowledge of the subjects. D analyze potential limits of those involved at the beginning of the project and set up an GANT diagram for overseeing the times; promote actions to maintain and support over time, monitor the presence of other projects and prepare a job that provides an integration, involve the family and the couple.

Organization and funding
Regularly paid employees





To be defined

External advisers and experts


Others (please specify)

experts of software in qualitative data analysis

What are the specific professional backgrounds and competencies your team brings to the initiative?

Narrative medicine, organizational development, evaluation of care, therapeutic education, communication skills, the area of teaching methods and educational tools, training evaluation.
Psychologist and psychotherapist competencies .Consultancy and analysis of projects addressed to people with social and work problems. Promoter of activities concerning health psychology and wellness.

Please describe your management or coordination structure in the initiative.

The Department of Public Health provides supervision about organizational and managerial aspects and the methodological approach to the research and publication. Different activities will be delegated to the experts in the process.

Please provide the total yearly budget in Euro that your initiative spends on implementing the solution.

15.000 euro

National public funding


European Union public funding


Economic return from own products/services

to be defined

Foundations and philanthropy capital


Single donations from private individuals


Donations from private companies


Crowdfunding platforms


Participation fees


Other (please specify)


Target group, scale and impact
Which target group(s) do you want to reach with your solution?

Over-sixty-five people (men and women) living in the city of Turin, self-sufficient or partially self-sufficient. Priority will be given to persons with financial difficulties.

Please estimate the number of persons within your target group (users, clients, etc.) that you currently reach directly with your solution.

Twenty elderly people and their families

In which local/regional/national area(s) is the solution currently implemented?


What is the impact on your target group (users, clients) you want to generate?

The impact of the solution on our target groupwill be a community support, the presence of a network, enhancement of the potential and ability of the elderly, maintaining the enhancement of physiological conditions, the development of a project that can be repeated over time.

What is the wider impact on society you want to generate?

The impact of the solution on societyIncreased satisfaction of the elderly, family members and caregivers. Through the publication of the book is a widespread methodology of autobiographical narrative for the application of experience in the elderly.

What are the impacts on your target group you already achieved?

Currently, none

How has the impact of your initiative been assessed?

Experience-based self-assessment (you assessed the impacts based on your experiences with the target group), Feedback-based self-assessment (you assessed the impacts based on feedback from the target group without using specific methods), Self-evaluation (you used qualitative and/or quantitative methods to assess impacts), External evaluation of impacts based on qualitative methods (interviews, focus groups, etc.).

Public information and strategy
What information on your initiative is publicly available?

Mission and strategy, Organisational structure, Information on team members, Evaluation report, Financial report, Activity report, Working method and 'theory of change'.

Please indicate webpage or contact for obtaining the respective information.
What are your milestones for further developing, implementing, and establishing your initiative in the next three years? Please describe 1-3 milestones.

Promoting the project in places attended by elderly people to create interest towards the active participation into the work: october 2013
Create a group of twenty elderlies who will take part into the project: novembre 2013
Conduct group meetings every two weeks to stimulate and active cognitive memory in particular autobiographical memory in the elderly: january 2013
Pubblication and dissemination of project: giugno 2014