Reminiscence Therapy for Older People

Reminiscence Therapy is a form of therapy that can be useful and helpful to older people with memory problems. It provides a way for people with a short term memory loss to conversationally and socially interact based on their long term memory. The long term memory acting as the facilitator.

There are Reminiscence groups around the country but it is a simple everyday activity that if you are a family member, friend or carer you can initiate easily into a companionable period of time when visiting or caring for a person.

It could be using old photographs, spending time discussing the story behind them, musing on the fashions of the day, the friends in the photographs, where the picture was taken, what celebrations were taking place, the transport shown, or other relevant items in the photograph e.g. wartime memories. A different day for each topic is easy to plan and put into practice.

Videos of old films, old loved film stars all revive memories. Some libraries now have a reminiscence library where films can be loaned and on the internet you can find almost any film for a small sum.

Life when the person was a child, the school, friends and holidays, the local shops of the day, the jobs they worked in, the war years, are all topics for a mutually enjoyable and beneficial conversation.

Objects also revive memories, household items, hair and makeup styles, recipes of the day. It is easy to find what was happening in almost any point of time by logging on to a Google website and for example typing in; Life in the 1930’s, war time recipes, songs of the 20’s, etc. Charity shops may have “old” items for a few pence that can be used for conversational purposes; old magazines are being re-printed and again available on the internet.

Everyone reminisces and for older people memories mean more. Reviving the memories and making someone happy is a good way to spend time. Like all parts of our bodies, the brain needs to keep functioning to the optimum level it is capable of and reaching into a person’s long term memory will make a person feel better and provide a time of enjoyment for both.

More information about Reminiscence Therapy on this page: Reminiscence Therapy - Memory and Smell

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