Want to increase and elder’s quality of life. Try storytelling.
Just as storytelling helps children look forward to life- what is fun, what is scary, what never to do, it helps elders look back on their life. It gives both older and kids people a chance to socialize as they tell their story. The “telling ” also means someone usually listens or documents. That magically gives the elder and a child social interaction and connectedness. Elders vividly recall their past by telling from vignettes in their life – especially life in their 20’s, which sparks the richest recall called the “20’s bump”, according to researchers.
Elders sharing stories means passing on history, so it becomes intergenerational. The older person is given a chance to give the larger picture of their life and family history to children and grandchildren or extended family, who may not have heard all the details of their grandparents or parents life before. So a dual dose of quality of the older person of both the older person and the aging family is increased through oral history and reminiscence
An aging professional, like a geriatric care manager, can suggest family or friends just sitting down and prompting a story or oral history using technology like an i Phone or i Pad
Even elders with Alzheimer’s can find new joy with Reminiscence
When an elderly person develops Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, the short-term memory is frequently affected but long-term memories can remain as intact and as vivid as they have always been during the course of the patient’s life. As a result healthcare professionals can use a practice called reminiscence therapy to help combat the frustration, confusion, and depression that can often accompany dementia and even bring joy to the older person
What is reminiscence therapy?
Reminiscence therapy is like a therapy session where the elderly person will spend time recalling memories of his or her life, perhaps telling stories about things that happened and events the person can recall.
Care managers and senior professionals can use photos, familiar objects, or other such items to help jog the memory of the elder. Some therapists can a scrapbook of a person’s life, including photos, letters, and other such personal memorabilia. This becomes a visual biography of the patient’s life and helps him or her remember who he or she is.
How does this quality of life therapy help? Almost all elderly men and women can feel deeply discouraged and frustrated with their memory issues. Reminiscence can give peace and acceptance of the current situation by helping the person remember that he or she has had a good and full life. It also prompts the communication skills of elderly people who otherwise may not feel very compelled to open up and share anything with anyone else.
Using Reminiscence therapy techniques can give the confused elder a richer quality of life by giving them with time with other people who will actually listen to them. Through this, a dementia patient is made to feel their thoughts and feelings actually matter. To someone who has an elderly loved one suffering from dementia, this benefit alone can make reminiscence therapy a form of joy.
There is even an app called Grey Matters, which caregivers and care managers can look into for reminiscence therapy for elders with dementia. If the senior is a BBC fan, like me, the BBC even has an app called RemArc to help dementia sufferers with reminiscence using old clips from the BBC. You can see in the future an app that has clips from Star Wars for present baby boomers or generations after that.