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REMINISCENT THERAPY

by Malloree Grimes

Reminiscent or Reminiscence Therapy benefits seniors living with dementia by using all senses – sight, touch, taste and sound – to help evoke happy memories from past experiences. This therapy has been proven to improve self-esteem, boost mood, reduce stress, decrease agitation, and minimize challenging behaviors. Since memories can be associated with different parts of the brain, care partners use tangible objects in various activities to encourage discussions. We listed three of them below:

Old Belongings: Looking at items together such as photographs, photo albums or art they created, residents and Abe’s Garden Community Group members love sharing stories about their loved ones. It brings back a sense of pride. It can also be a great way to redirect someone experiencing frustration or anxiety. Commenting on their jewelry can lead to great conversation and reminiscing of parents and grandparents.

Music: We have all heard a particular song that immediately takes us back to a specific moment in time. You can feel it in your heart. It may bring tears or grins. It may get your loved one two-stepping or swaying in their seats. Did your loved one’s parents always play music and dance in the kitchen while baking or cooking? That’s something that can lift spirits while doing everyday activities together.

Aromatherapy: We also use various smells to reminisce. Aromatherapy has been very popular in the last decade, especially for memory care. Not only essential oils, but you can reminisce with a special perfume, fresh chocolate chip cookies, or a dish that your loved one used to make with their parents at a young age.