For both older adults and their loved ones, the logistics often involved with getting older, like juggling medication schedules and installing safety equipment, can be a struggle. It’s easy to lose sight of the happy, independent person that someone once was when they were younger and more mobile in that struggle. If the older adult in question also has dementia or Alzheimer’s, they further lose their self-identity and the role they played in their loved ones’ lives.
Reminiscence Therapy helps both senior citizens and their loved ones reconnect to the person they once were. There are many physical and emotional benefits of reminiscing for seniors as they work through Reminiscence Therapy.
What Is Reminiscence Therapy?
The definition of Reminiscence Therapy, according to Psychology Wiki, is a therapeutic activity that is designed to prevent the deterioration of memory in older adults.
This type of therapy helps individuals remember their past experiences through activities such as looking through old pictures, listening to songs they once liked, or simply having conversations with loved ones. This therapy utilizes the five senses — sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch — to reconnect to past events.
People with dementia usually lose short-term memory, but they are still able to recall older memories. That’s why Reminiscence Therapy for dementia patients is a valuable way to interact with others and support their own memories.
The Benefits of Reminiscing for Seniors
There are many benefits that Reminiscence Therapy can have on Alzheimer’s patients and people who have been diagnosed with dementia. Some of the physical and emotional benefits of this form of therapy can have on seniors include:
- Reduces Symptoms of Depression
Depression is a common affliction for those who are aging. As they see their lives change in drastic ways, they often experience symptoms of depression. However, Reminiscence Therapy can help seniors tap into happy memories of happier times, which relieve the sometimes debilitating symptoms of depression. Subsequently, they will also have an improved outlook on life.
- Promotes Appreciation for Family History
This history of your entire family is often tied up in the memories of its oldest members. Getting seniors to recount those valuable memories can help future generations know on a deeper level who they are and where they came from. In this way, Reminiscence Therapy can help bring families together through their shared history.
- Improves Communication Skills
A person who has dementia or Alzheimer’s often loses the ability to communicate with others in a meaningful way. However, recalling happy memories often elicits emotion as well and allows someone to practice communicating in a way that is meaningful to them.
- Boosts Self-Esteem
Through the process of aging, it’s common for someone to lose their sense of self-identity. Reminiscing can help connect someone to their past and reaffirm their feelings of being important by reflecting on their accomplishments.
Activities That Promote Reminiscing
In Reminiscence Therapy, it’s important to engage all five senses to tap into different parts of memory. Some ways you can help your loved one do this is by:
- Listening to their favorite music
- Making their favorite meals
- Looking at family photographs or old magazines
- Watching old movies
- Creating “scent cards” that bear a familiar scent
- Reconnecting them with tactile activities they once did, such as knitting, sewing, or drawing
Memories can hold a lot of memory for any aging person, especially those with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Besides aiding in communication with loved ones, Reminiscence Therapy can connect to their past, helping seniors cope easier with their present.
If you are looking to learn more about Reminiscence Therapy, contact our team to get all of your questions answered.