Even Elders with Dementia can Find New Joy with Reminiscence
Holidays are perfect for reminiscence or bringing back memories for someone who has dementia. Labor Day wascelebrated by them as a child.They may be able recall walking back to the first day of school , buying school supplies, or the taste of late summer tomatoes on hamburgers or ice cream at Labor Day barbecues with family.When an elderly person develops Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, the short-term memory is frequently affected .But long-term memories , like childhood Labor Day memories ,can remain as intact and as vivid as they have always been during the course of the client’s life. As a result healthcare professionals and family 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 ?
Reminiscence happens when an older person spends time recalling memories of his or her life. If they suffer from dementia this can still happen. This Labor Day by asking, elders who were kids in the 40’s , 50’s &60’s ,about how they celebrated Labor Day in that era, prompts them to recall with their long term memory that is often still intact.
Care managers and senior professionals can coach family to use photos, familiar objects, or other items to help jog the memory of the elder. Families can get out scrapbooks of a person’s life, including old photos, letters, and other such personal memorabilia.If you have old family movies, or DVD’s that can evoke good recall. This becomes a visual biography of the elder’s life and helps him or her remember who he or she is.Plus actually interacting or spending time and talking to and listening to older friends and family , who are often isolated and very lonely, can bring real joy to their lives.
How Does Quality of Life Therapy Help Any Older Person?
Almost all elderly men and women can feel deeply discouraged and frustrated with memory issues. Reminiscence can give peace and acceptance of the current situation by helping the person remember times when 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.
HOW DOES REMINISCENCE THERAPY HELP DEMENTIA
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.
Books to Help You Open Your Own Program
Geriatric Care Manager Nina Herndon is the pioneer of adding reminiscence therapy to geriatric care management. She authored the chapter Quality of Life in Handbook of Geriatric Care Management .
Nina also created a book on quality of life activities you can use in your work and program called Joyful Moments