Reminiscence: A Powerful Eldercare Tool For Seniors With Dementia

man on moonReminiscence is the recollections of memories of the past. In caring for our seniors, it can be a very important and often overlooked aspect of homecare.  It is considered to be beneficial to a person’s inner self and interpersonal skills – especially for people effected by dementia.

Reminiscence is important with these individuals because their long-term memory is typically the last to diminish. By talking about and remembering personal experiences from the past – even back to childhood – it allows older adults with dementia to gain more confidence in social situations and helps them maintain verbal skills. Reminiscence gives elders a chance to reflect on who they are, what they’ve accomplished in their lives, and a chance to re-live happy times.

Reminiscence can be a powerful tool for caregivers and family members. Here are some helpful “tools” you can use:

  • Be prepared. Have topics or stories in mind in advance. Know that reminiscing may engender happiness or sadness in the person – or both. This is not a bad thing. If feelings become difficult, validate them, then gently move on to a different topic or activity. Be supportive.
  • Check the environment. Make sure the place you are doing the reminiscing is conducive to conversation. A quiet, low-stimulation environment is best. Turn off the TV and minimize background noise. Make sure lighting is adequate.
  • Be present. Sit at eye level, turn off your cell phone, and avoid distractions. Actively listen and take the conversation wherever s/he wants to take it. Don’t rush, and allow the person to take the time to gather their thoughts and express themselves.
  • Use props. Use old photos, articles, videos, or audio recordings to spark memories. Music can be an amazing way to bring back happy feelings from the past and old photo albums can bring hours of reflection and enjoyment. Incorporate using the senses and be creative by baking some cookies or lighting some candles.
  • Accept loss. People with dementia lose memories over time. Once the memories are gone, they’re gone forever. If you recognize the a memory is no longer there, accept that it’s gone and focus on the memories that remain.
  • Don’t force it. Know that some people may not want to reminisce about the past. It’s okay. Accept this and move on. The person may be willing to reminisce at a later time.

If you need some ideas about topics to discuss visit Shake Loose a Memory.” These games are a fun and easy approach to unlock meaningful memories and real-life experiences.

If you would like to learn more about reminiscing, or anything related to health and happy aging-in-place here in Connecticut, contact us. We can help. It’s what we do.

 

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing this useful content loaded with good information. I would like to add some more on this. Reminiscing is a simple mental exercise that can have many positive effects on seniors who suffer from dementia. Some commonly used strategies for reminiscing are:
    Flipping through old photographs
    Watching their favorite movie with them
    Referring to their most enjoyed holidays

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Als Covid Homecoming Post

How To Bring A Loved One Home From A Nursing Home

While different facilities have different procedures, there are some common things that can help you prepare for when your family member is coming back to their home. Below we’ve outlined a few helpful tips and reminders about what to do and what to expect when your family returns home. Print, save and share this infographic or use our form below to get a copy of this infographic emailed to you.                    

Als Covid Health And Wellness Post

8 Ideas to Support Your Health & Wellness During COVID-19

Now is the perfect time to focus on your health and wellness to keep your body strong during COVID-19. We’ve outlined 8 easy tips to use during this time to fuel your body, mind and soul. Print, save and share this infographic or use our form below to get a copy of this infographic emailed to you.   If you’d like a PDF version emailed directly to you, and to receive additional infographics and resources, join our newsletter.

Fraud Alert Graphic

Economic Impact Payments Fraud and What To Watch For

With the IRS releasing monies to citizens through the CARES Act, scammers are trying various tactics to access the economic impact payments from deserving individuals and families. Financial scams are an ongoing problem, in part due to our growing reliance on technology and digital payment systems. Our elderly are especially an easy target because many in the older generation are less tech savvy, isolated and lonely, or suffering from memory issues that impair their judgement. Here are some FACTS regarding

Als Covid Infographic Food Post

Safe Food Ideas During COVID-19

While it’s challenging during this time to make every-day grocery runs and food pickup and choices, we’ve outlined some quick tips on where and how to get food and supplies while things are closed or have special hours and restrictions. Print, save and share this infographic on some of our top ideas for safe food during COVID-19. You can also use our form below to get a copy of this infographic emailed to you.   If you’d like a PDF