Reminiscence Therapy Can Help Dementia Patients Connect During the Holiday Season

A professional in-home caregiver uses reminiscence therapy to engage with an older man who has dementia.
Learn how to use reminiscence therapy to better connect with a loved one with dementia this holiday season and beyond.

Have you ever experienced that sensation where a specific song, fragrance, or visual triggers a flood of memories from the past? For someone with dementia, whose short-term memory is compromised, long-term memories are especially meaningful. For family members, tapping into these distant memories is a vitally important way to stay connected to a loved one with dementia. A great way to accomplish this is through reminiscence therapy. As you gather together with family this holiday season, consider incorporating reminiscence therapy as a powerful tool to engage and strengthen connections with a loved one affected by dementia.

What Is Reminiscence Therapy?

Reminiscence therapy is simply a matter of understanding a person’s past interests, career, and passions, and then tapping into them. It involves delving into a particular period of life that the person enjoyed and remembers, and meeting them there through discussions, pictures, newspaper clippings, videos, etc. With anything you can imagine available online, it’s easier than ever to find images and articles from a specific timeframe.

To take the idea to an incredible level, a 9,000-square-foot building in Chula Vista, California, has been transformed into an interactive town from the 1950s. It includes a movie theater, diner, doctor’s office, and more, all in operation exactly as they were during that era. The “town” also includes an office setting with secretaries tapping away at manual typewriters, a 1959 T-Bird, and even large-scale military plane models.

In reality, this jaw-dropping facility is an adult memory care unit. CEO Scott Tarde, explains, “It definitely made sense to me to create an environment that resonated strongly with people, instead of just four walls and a television.”

Dr. Daniel Bateman, geriatric psychiatrist at the Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center, adds, “It’s cutting edge and it’s exciting work. One of the great pieces about the concept is that it really focuses on maintaining the dignity and the humanity of people with dementia, which can often be lost.”

How to Incorporate Reminiscence Therapy at Home

Naturally, this level of reminiscing isn’t possible to recreate at home, but it’s certainly easy enough to utilize these concepts on a smaller scale. As you get together with loved ones this holiday season, try:

  • Looking at treasured ornaments and holiday decorations together and talking about the stories behind them
  • Pulling out time-honored recipes for special holiday treats and making them together as you discuss memories of holidays past
  • Singing the person’s favorite holiday songs
  • Watching home movies and looking through photo albums

At Abrio Home Care, we bring creativity like this to the individuals we serve each day, with highly personalized Alzheimer’s care. We take time to get to know each person’s life story, and then fold those details into our care plan to make sure that life is fulfilling, engaging, and meaningful.

Our skilled dementia care experts can help someone you love who struggles with the disease, through services such as:

  • Companionship for reminiscing, conversations, games, puzzles, and activities that are enjoyable and instill a sense of purpose and self-worth
  • Safe transportation and accompaniment to outings and medical appointments
  • Assistance with exercising and physical activity, per doctor’s recommendations
  • Creative strategies to ease challenging symptoms
  • And more

Providing care for someone you love with dementia isn’t easy. We’re here to walk beside you through all of the ups and downs of life with dementia, to ensure both you and the person you love are as healthy and happy as possible.

Whether you could benefit from a few hours each week to step away for self-care, or if more care and support are needed, we’re here to help! Reach out to us at 877-71-ABRIO any time to learn more about our customized in-home care services in Phoenix, Mesa, Yuma, and the surrounding areas. From all of us at Abrio Home Care, Happy Holidays!