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Reminiscence Therapy

One of the most common conditions associated with aging is dementia, where people experience degradation in memory and overall mental abilities. While some treatments and medications exist for dementia, it can also be managed using reminiscence therapy.

What is reminiscence therapy?

Often, memories might have been stored away in your brain, and it isn’t possible for you to readily remember them unless prompted. The goal of reminiscence therapy, also known as life review therapy, is to encourage recollection of these memories by consistently engaging with both you and your memories. This reminiscence helps stimulate cognitive processes in the brain. 

Many tools and techniques are used in this unique form of therapy. The most consistent tool a reminiscence therapist might use is simply engaging in a conversation with you. Reminiscence therapy sessions can occur in several settings, both group or individual sessions, and ultimately depend on where you feel most comfortable. Some options are a more traditional therapy setting, like an office, to a more casual environment, like walking in a park or simply in your home. Reminiscence therapists use these pleasant places to ask open-ended questions and give you a chance to discuss anything that might come to mind. Anything you want to talk about will be beneficial since talking about your life, and loved ones helps exercise your brain’s ability to recall memories. 

Reminiscence therapy also utilizes sensory tools. Smells, sounds, and other sensations from specific periods of life are employed. Activities and movements, like dancing, walking, or cooking your favorite food, can also help recollection. Therapists often use physical items like souvenirs, photos, and other keepsakes to prompt responses. 

Benefits of Reminiscence Therapy

Reminiscence therapy has the primary goal of countering memory loss. Helping make sure you remember your past as you age counters the effects of dementia and helps preserve the brain’s long-term memory and reasoning abilities. It also helps lower stress levels and improves heart health. Even if you do not experience any symptoms of dementia, reminiscence therapy can also help protect the brain against possible memory loss. 

Seeking reminiscence therapy will also bring you closer to your loved ones. Your family and friends will also benefit from this form of treatment. It is a gratifying experience as learning more about a loved one’s past helps preserve treasured family stories or traditions. Additionally, your memories from decades past are more unique than you might think and give new insights into the current world. 

Most importantly, reminiscence therapy often results in self-confidence and greater peace. Besides recalling important moments from their long lives, people frequently see improvements in mood. It also helps in habitual social interaction and connecting with loved ones. If losing memories has caused you to have feelings of lower self-worth, reminiscence therapy will help immensely. As miraculous as it may sound, this type of therapy can repair memories and reverse memory loss, leading to higher satisfaction with life. Additionally, if you feel left behind by how fast the world moves, using the past to rebuild the foundations of your mental ability can also help you become accustomed to the present. 

Taking Part in Reminiscence Therapy

Specialized sessions should occur with someone trained in geriatric psychology, but many reminiscence activities can be done from home. 

  1. Use mementos: Besides directly having a conversation about your past, talking about objects around the house will serve as reminiscence exercises. For example, telling someone what vacation a postcard on the fridge is from or who the other people in a photo are might spark your recollection. 
  2. Use sound: Play their favorite song or watch some of your favorite shows that might create an opportunity to bring back memories.
  3. Add movement: Dancing with your loved ones, especially in your favorite styles from the past, is a helpful way to recall memories. This can be incorporated with the sound association of reminiscence – you could dance to your favorite song or style of music. 
  4. Cook your favorite food: If you have any dishes you were particularly fond of in the past or have a nostalgic value attached to them, making those dishes might help spark experiences associated with that food. Even the smells and sounds of the kitchen might add to your happy memories. 
  5. Get artistic: Painting or doing other crafts can contribute to reminiscence as well. Painting a landscape of a place that holds significance could lead to conversation. Alternatively, if you have a craft you already enjoy, like knitting or drawing, doing that will help you recall memories of that experience.

Preserving memory is vital to staying healthy and maintaining identity. When searching for ways to counter dementia or other memory loss, reminiscence therapy is a great technique that is easy to add to your daily routine. 

Healthy Hive

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