All of us are prone to reflect on our lives from time to time. For seniors, especially those experiencing some level of dementia, such periods of reminiscence are more than just a way to pass the time; rather, they can stimulate mental function and improve memory. In fact, our life-long memories are incredibly important for our mental health, making such “reminiscence therapy” an increasingly popular therapeutic tool.
Though many dementia patients have difficulty remembering recent events – even from the very same day – their memories from decades ago can be intensely accurate and vivid. Psychologists have noted that memories from our late teens and twenties are the most vivid, leading them to refer to this period as the “reminiscence bump.” No matter what stage in life is remembered most vividly and fondly, open conversation about these memories can be satisfying and enriching both for patients and their families. Here’s why:
As age-related changes lead to a loss of independence, maintaining a strong sense of individuality is vital for one’s mental well-being. Reminiscing about past experiences, both the highs and lows of life, allows one to maintain a strong sense of self-respect.
Along with a loss of independence often comes decreased self-worth. No matter how physically impaired a person may become, however, their experience in life is still invaluable. Sharing life experiences with younger family and friends helps seniors take on the role of teacher and educator while increasing their self-worth.
Communication is the glue that holds families together. Since seniors are sometimes limited in their ability to maintain contact with their loved ones, it’s important for caregivers to make every second count. Arranging an organized session for storytelling, scrapbooking or looking at old photos can help seniors feel like valued, loved members of the family.
If you’d like further guidance on how to use reminiscence therapy or other therapeutic tools, one of our home care professionals would be pleased to help. Fedelta Home Care has been a leading home care provider in the Puget Sound area for over two decades. In addition to guidance and care planning, we can provide part-time and live-in caregivers for families in need. Contact us today to learn more about our services.