Caregiver Corner: Reminisce!

Pamela Atwood, MA, CDP, Director of Dementia Care Services

Decades ago, health experts thought that reminiscing about the past was the first step in senility. Over 50 years ago, Dr. Robert Butler coined the term “life review” and his research proved that this is a normal stage of life for all older adults. Gerontologists now know that reminiscence and life review are healthy and important parts of positive aging. Some of the reminiscence topics our residents and clients especially like to talk about include:

  • Family:  parents, siblings, extended family

  • School: elementary school, games, teachers, favorite subjects

  • Holidays: most important, meals, favorite memories

  • Occupations: first job, type of work, how you got there, pay rate, life’s work

  • Hobbies: sports, books, games, movies

  • Travel: locations, with whom, how

  • Changes during their lifetime: technology, politics, society

Reminiscence can help older adults feel continuity in their lives. They also feel they are helping the next generation by sharing their experiences and wisdom.

Reminiscence is an important tool working with older adults with memory problems too. Usually their long term memory remains intact, so we can connect with people through reminiscence. By talking about the past, people often begin to see the meaning in their lives, while building or strengthening a relationship with the person who listens.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s