The Wesbury Blog

Benefits of Reminiscing for Seniors with Dementia

As a friend or loved one’s memory loss progresses it can be hard to see them slipping away from the individual you once knew, and you may feel lost in how to connect or engage with them as you once did.   On March 16th the Bridges Support Group met to discuss the topic of Reminiscing and how to use it to engage with their loved ones once again.  Reminiscence Therapy uses the five senses – sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell to trigger an organic memory or experience that your friend or loved one can share with you.

Listed below are some of the benefits shared during the Bridges Support Group meeting of why to try it, and ways you can reminisce with your loved one.

Why Try Reminiscence Therapy?

  • This type of therapy can bring joy, improve mood through engagement and reduce any agitation or fear they may be feeling at that moment.
  • It is a great tool to use to talk with a spouse or loved one as it is common for those with dementia to remember the past.
  • Reminiscing happens naturally and encourages them to lead the conversation without feeling frustrated to remember a specific time, place, or event.

Try these Eight Ways to Reminisce with Your Loved One:

  • Ask questions to prompt them to share details about their life and experiences. For example:  Where did you grow up and go to school? When/where did you get married? What was your favorite holiday or family vacation?  Did you have any pets growing up?  Do you have a favorite musician/actor/actress?
  • Share about yourself and your experiences to rouse their personal experience. As they relate they may share stories back.
  • Bring in pictures or photo albums. These can be pictures from a wedding, family reunion, vacation, or even a high school yearbook to help visually trigger a memory for them in regards to a friend or loved one.
  • Cook or bake a favorite dish together. Smells bring back positive memories and experiences. If they are not able to help make the recipe, bring a favorite meal or snack for them to enjoy from their past.
  • Play their favorite songs. Music can be a strong trigger; sometimes a person still knows every word to songs they loved.
  • Bring them a pen and paper to journal or write letters. Writing has been shown to improve cognitive recall.
  • Schedule time for a therapy pet to visit. This may open a door to talk about the family pet, or pets they had growing up.
  • Present things they made or items from a favorite hobby. For example –a quilter may enjoy feeling the texture and seeing the patterns; a gardener may enjoy seeing fresh-cut flowers; an artist/painter may enjoy holding brushes, using colored pencils or feeling the texture of different art mediums.

If you enjoyed reading these suggestions, please join us for “Bridges” a free monthly education and support opportunity for caregivers.

Bridges Support Group is for residents, families, caregivers, and anyone from the general public in need of a support group for coping with a loved one who is suffering from memory loss for any reason such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.

Each month you will explore a topic, learn effective ways to respond to changes, share concerns and ideas, and feel that you are not alone.

When: Every 3rd Wednesday of the Month from 2:30 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Where: Wesbury, Cribbs Residential Center, 31 N. Park Ave, Meadville, PA 16335

If you have questions please Contact Melissa Porter at 814-332-9238 or email:
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