3 Overlooked Reminiscence Tools for the Elderly

3 Overlooked Reminiscence Tools for the Elderly : In senior care (especially in the dementia care world), reminiscence has been a recent buzzword. Many communities facilitate what is called Reminiscence Therapy. Essentially, this is a designated time to recall memories of the past.

Some of the effects and benefits of reminiscence therapy for the elderly have been:

  • Gaining confidence in social situations
  • Improved interpersonal skills
  • Cognitive stimulation
  • Connecting to one’s identity/an improved sense of self
  • Improved mood from reflecting on happy memories

What does it look like to ‘reminisce’?

This type of therapeutic exercise can take place casually one-on-one or in more formal group settings. A facilitator usually has topics or stories in mind. For example, an art museum might theme a reminiscence session around a certain historical event like the moon landing or a childhood pastime like sporting events. They will then use props like photos, paintings, videos, tangible objects, music, or audio recordings to spark memories and start conversations. What does someone think about when they smell popcorn and hear the crack of a baseball hitting a bat? What memories are conjured by watching footage of Neil Armstrong bouncing on the moon?

Reminiscing with your loved one

Reminiscence sessions are something you can easily do with a loved one. Here are some tips:

  • Find a law-simulation environment that is relatively quiet with few distractions
  • Actively listen and be present
  • Use props as outlined above
  • Don’t rush. Let them take their time answering questions or trying to remember.
  • Don’t force it. If a memory isn’t coming, accept it and move on. You don’t want to make them feel bad or frustrated. If they’re not feeling up for reminiscing anymore, happily suggest something else.

Here are 3 overlooked reminiscence tools you probably already have access to! Use these to inspire your reminiscence sessions and enjoy creating a nostalgic experience for your loved one to reflect upon.

  1. Google Street View: Even if your loved one is confined to a wheelchair or unable to leave their care home, you can transport them just about anywhere with Google Street View. StoriiCare, the adult day care software provider, even has an integration with this so care staff and family members can save significant locations to an individual’s personal profile. Look up homes they lived in, schools they went to, places they vacationed, parks they frequented, concert halls they danced at, offices they worked in, etc. You can literally take a stroll down memory lane digitally. Create a fuller sensory experience by playing music associated with a time or place you’re revisiting.
  2. The National Archives: You can search the National Archives’ website for images from a decade like the 1950s, a historical figure like Martin Luther King Jr., or something like “women’s history” and find digitized documents (photographs, videos, advertisements, newspaper clippings, etc.) to support your time reminiscing.
  3. Old Radio Programs: Websites like Archives.org or satellite radio have tens of thousands of old time radio shows available to stream or download. You may even find photos, show descriptions, and comments from other listeners. There are also podcasts (Relic Radio is one to check out) you can find for specific genres like Old Time Radio Westerns or Comic Book shows. Radios were the staple of household entertainment for many generations. Young and old would gather around the radio for news, music and entertainment programming. These are sure to bring back memories and provide a comforting, familiar sound to your loved one.






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3 Overlooked Reminiscence Tools for the Elderly

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