Nostalgia is something we’re all familiar with. Whether it’s from flipping through a photo album or holding a family heirloom, everyone knows that warm and cozy feeling we associate with treasured memories. But revisiting the past can be more than an enjoyable experience; it can also play a crucial role in treatment for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
As a senior living community providing memory care services, Melrose Gardens keeps up with the latest research and developments regarding Alzheimer’s disease and its treatment. In this article, we discuss the role of reminiscence therapy in memory care, and how technology can help provide this important and innovative treatment.
What is Reminiscence Therapy?
Reminiscence therapy involves stimulating different senses, like sight, smell, and sound, to evoke past experiences for seniors with dementia. Music and aromatherapy are often incorporated to help patients recall significant or cherished moments from their lives. These moments are then explored through storytelling, using questions or treasured objects to help the patient connect with and recall their past.
There are many different activities that can make up this form of therapy. Time capsules can be created containing specific items connected to a particular time and place. Journals, museums, and historical tours are another option. Most recently, reminiscence therapy technology is also available using virtual reality and smartphone apps, like My House of Memories .
What are the Benefits of Reminiscence Therapy?
One of the main benefits of reminiscence therapy is that it helps connect dementia patients to their pasts. This not only leads to positive and comforting feelings, but also helps strengthen neural pathways in the brain. Revisiting memories also reasserts a sense of identity and belonging, and helps encourage self-confidence.
Through storytelling especially, seniors with memory loss can have meaningful conversations with family members and friends, improving communication and strengthening relationships. Research shows that reminiscence therapy improves quality of life and cognition for those with dementia, and when practiced regularly, it can also help alleviate the depressive symptoms that often accompany the illness.
Our memories and experiences make us who we are, which is partly why memory loss is so difficult to cope with. While researchers still don’t fully understand the workings of Alzheimer’s disease, reminiscence therapy is proving to be an important component in treatment that can greatly improve symptoms and quality of life.
Melrose Gardens is a senior living community in Los Angeles, CA providing specialized memory care services. If you’re looking for memory care in the Los Angeles area for yourself or a loved one, contact us today to learn more.