Use Reminiscence therapy to capture family tales of aging parents or clients in the New Year
Do you use reminiscence therapy? Do you know how to use a reminiscence tool? Have you lost an aging parent and wished you had asked them more questions to reminisce about their past, your family history, and your childhood? Have you dabbled in ancestry and realized -too late- that you should have just listened closely to the stories your parents told you then written them down before they died?
Start Now! Use reminiscence therapy to make this New Year the year you collect the stories in your own family plus assist your aging clients by using 10 reminiscence therapy tools, technology, and techniques.
1. Use empathetic listening. This means to make all the messages you are are giving the older person— tone, how fast you speak, how they are sitting- all saying, “I want to listen to them.”
2. Use empathetic listening then ask questions that prompt the story but don’t make judgments. If there are going to record the family tale, do it in a way that doesn’t distract or stop the older person from talking.
3. Start somewhere with a question then use empathetic listening. If the elder isn’t going to tell stories on his or her own, start the story and see if they will follow along.”What was a New Years Resolution that you made and kept” ” Do you remember your favorite doll ” What was your first day of school like”
4 . Music is just next to memory in the brain. So you want to use music as a reminiscence tool. This can be done through Alive Inside. So use Alexa, Spotify, to play 40’s 50’s 60’s music or especially when they were teens. Why? Sexual awakening when we are teens and the background music of that time deepens memory when they were teens –when they were teens NO Surprise. Simple ways to spark reminiscence when you visit older family members -bring their teenage music on your phone.
5. Use more reminiscence tools. Look at old photos together. Photos trigger memory even with dementia. Choose ones from a period of time the person currently remembers, which could be the person as a young adult, teenager, or even a young child.
6. Play music from their teenage years. That is a powerful reminiscence tool. It is the background to the most emotional period of anyone’s life and deeply lined into memory.
7. Another reminiscence tool is food. Serve food that is a family tradition or specialty, particularly ones that have an element of memory attached from family celebrations. like Mom’s Briscut, Dad’s Sunday Supper lasagna, or “Aunt Helen’s Lemon Cake”.
8. Story Worth was started by Nick Baum, a tecky who was, and in a way, a long-distance care provider for his parents in Sweden. He was curious about their past and invented the app based on his own need to gather his family history through reminiscence therapy in book form. My husband is a teller of past tales as a California Highway patrolman, then Hippiedom, then as top marketing director for Pacific Cookie Company, the best cookies here is the west.
Our daughter Kali gave him Story Worth as a holiday gift 2 years ago. In the first 12 months of the COVID, he recorded 40 stories or memories from his past. They were all published by Story Worth Book, saving in print the precious reminiscence that would have been lost but now saved in a book that we gave to our adult children for them and generations to come.
This is a gold star reminiscence tool that gives you a brilliant way to capture reminiscence and I recommend it to adult children who want to enshrine personal memories in print that otherwise would be lost when they reach back for them..
9. Life Bio- a reminiscence tool,online template of biography and autobiography questions that have been carefully crafted
10. Quick Voice Recorder a reminiscence tool to catch the memory on your phone
Reminiscence in aging is a part of a whole new domain in aging called quality of life or attending to the older person’s need for joy through activities that stimulate the mind. Reminiscence does that- so find out more about how you can increase the quality of life of older people after the holidays and all year long by building a quality of life reminiscence program like Lifespan’s Well Being program in Santa Cruz, Ca.