Therapeutic Reminiscence

Memories…every day we’re creating new ones, but there is something specifically heartwarming about revisiting those from long ago. And for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia, with a minimized capability to retain short-term memories, those from years past are all the more valuable.

In fact, therapeutic reminiscence is becoming increasingly popular for individuals diagnosed with dementia. The approach shows fantastic rewards, most notably an enhanced connection and feeling of value and self-worth, and a lift in confidence and joy. It is also an excellent way to manage stress and the challenges inherent in day-to-day life with dementia.

Bear in mind that reminiscing and remembering have specific variations. While asking a person if he or she recollects a specific place, person, or event may cause unfavorable thoughts and feelings if the person cannot recall the memory, reminiscing shifts the main focus to the individual with dementia, making it possible for her or him to direct the conversation.

For example, sit with the senior loved one and begin looking through an old scrapbook, and determine which photographs strike recognition and spark a spontaneous conversation. And, understand that some memories are likely to be upsetting, in which case you will want to provide kind, supportive listening, or gently redirect a senior loved one to a more pleasant memory.

The following are three additional reminiscing activities; try these out to see which are best received by your loved one:

  • Music. The connection to music for anyone with dementia is astonishing, as the section of the brain in control of musical memories often remains intact long after other cognitive abilities have been compromised. Consider listening to favorite music from the past, singing along, or joining in with simple instruments.
  • Scents/Tastes. Our senses of smell and taste are usually effective techniques to draw upon earlier memories. Assemble scent jars, containing smells that may be familiar for the older adult, such as pinecones and pine needles if he or she lived in a wooded area while growing up, and attempt to recreate favorite snacks that your loved one liked as a child.
  • Touch. There are also plenty of techniques to engage the individual with tactile activities to stimulate memories. Best-loved previous activities such as crocheting, gardening, crafting, sewing, or working with tools can be altered based on the senior’s particular ability and interest levels. Even just having the opportunity to hold a ball of yarn and knitting needles, or to place hands in a tub of cool, damp topsoil can stimulate pleasant memories.

Hearts at Home In-Home Care’s experienced dementia care experts are highly skilled in meeting seniors with dementia where they are, and helping ensure they reach their fullest possible potential, independence, and enjoyment in life on a daily basis. Contact us at 913-440-4209 for a complimentary in-home assessment, during which we get acquainted with your loved one and the challenges being faced, and to let you know exactly how we can help. Reach out today to learn more about top-rated Alzheimer’s Care in  Kansas City or the surrounding communities.