What is reminiscence therapy for dementia?
Reminiscence therapy helps those living with dementia improve or maintain their memory. It involves using a variety of tools and objects to discuss meaningful events and experiences from a person’s past. This can help to improve their wellbeing and evoke their memories.
This week, we’re exploring the best activities for successful reminiscence therapy for dementia:
Reminiscence Therapy for Dementia: Sensory Activities
Focusing on the senses is a great way to help those living with dementia conjure up memories from the past. We often associate important memories with our senses. For example, the smell of apple pie might transport you back to eating pudding at your grandparents house as a child. Similarly, a particular piece of music might remind you of your wedding day.
There are a range of activities that you could try to concentrate on stimulating the senses. These include listening to stories and looking at videos, or you could try baking for touch, smell and taste.
Try to plan activities that allow your loved one to explore each of their senses. You can then use gentle prompts to encourage them to talk about their feelings, memories and ideas.
Reminiscence Therapy for Dementia: Listen to Music
Music is an important part of dementia therapy, as it can help residents to feel calm and relaxed. It can also spark recognition, encouraging them to think about their past and even sing along or dance.
We often associate music with memories. Though your loved one may not be able to recall specific details, it may reignite strong feelings or emotions which can promote feelings of happiness. Sing along with them, encourage them to dance or sway, or give them a small instrument to join in with. This can help them fully immerse themselves in the moment and simply have fun, providing them with the opportunity to recall happy memories.
Look Through Old Photographs
Photographs are a great prop to encourage conversations and evoke memories. Using pictures of the person living with dementia, their family, friends and events from their childhood is a great way to help stimulate their cognitive function. This can help them remember things about themselves and their lives.
They may not remember whole events or specific details, but they may remember how they were feeling at the time, which can provide a sense of comfort and happiness.
You may find it beneficial to put together a scrapbook (in chronological order, if possible) with photos, tickets and captions. This can help to guide your loved one through the story of their life. Try to get input from as many people as possible to help create a full picture for your loved one. They can then help you stick the pictures into the book and you talk about that time of their life as you go.
Reminiscence Therapy for Dementia: Get CreativeArt is a soothing activity for those living with dementia as it’s often done in a calming environment.
It provides a creative outlet for your loved one’s thoughts, feelings and emotions, which can encourage them to open up about their feelings and create opportunities for conversations.
You can ask your loved one about painting as a child and create links between the art they’re doing now and their past, such as by making collages with old photographs or drawing a family portrait. This can encourage them to remember small details about their childhoods, such as whether they had a family pet or who their best friend was.
If they successfully remember and draw something from their past, you could then label it and use it as a prompt in later conversations.
If you’ve found our blog on reminiscence therapy for dementia helpful, why not read our previous post to discover ways to cope with an early diagnosis of dementia?
Alternatively, please contact a member of our team to find out more about our care services.