When people’s cognitive abilities start to deteriorate, they may lose sight of their personal identity, especially if dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, is experienced. Although people with this brain condition may forget about their life at present, they may still be holding on to personal memories. For this reason, a special remedial treatment is needed so they can recall the most precious moments in their lives. This is known as reminiscence therapy. With the help of photographs, objects with sentimental value or even familiar songs, people with dementia may remember memories that mean the most to them.
Background on Reminiscence Therapy
Before delving into the importance of reminiscence therapy, let us first take a look at how exactly this kind of therapy works for people with dementia. This treatment engages all the five senses of the body in order for people, who are experiencing memory loss, to remember the most significant people, events and places in their lifetime.
As previously mentioned, team members of a retirement community may utilize objects with connection to people’s lives to stimulate thoughts that would, eventually, help bring their past memories back. Activities like advanced clinical therapies and conversations may also be included in reminiscence therapy.
Importance of Reminiscence Therapy
Brain Exercise. When the brain is stimulated through reminiscence therapy, the brain muscles work to recall what has been forgotten. The more that this activity is done, the more that people with dementia can remember. The more that they can remember, the more their brain muscles are exercised.
Improves Communication Skills. Reminiscence therapy requires people with dementia to always speak with team members of the retirement community. Because of this, their communication skills May improve significantly.
Sense of Being Valued. Sometimes older loved ones may feel neglected. They may even feel unimportant. However, because of the conversations they have through reminiscence therapy, they may feel heard and their voices valued. This may result in a renewed sense of self-worth and can eventually make them feel like they are part of a family and a community again.
Strengthened Relationships. Whenever people with dementia go through reminiscence therapy with their loved ones, this treatment wouldn’t just open the gateway to forgotten past. It may also renew and further strengthen the bonds they have with their loved ones. This is, in fact, an opportunity to grow closer and stay connected with family members.
Joyful Spark. Loved ones with dementia may often feel left out, sad or bored. With reminiscence therapy, recalling happy memories or even listening to their favorite happy songs can induce joy. With this, their mood can improve. In addition, a more joyful state of mind and heart may also relieve the stress they may often feel. If, for instance, a rather unhappy memory resurfaces during conversations, simply act with kindness and understanding.
The challenges of having to live with dementia may take a toll in the overall wellbeing of people experiencing it. But with reminiscence therapy, it is definitely possible to give them back their lost memories, so they can live happily.