A Brief Guideline for Reminiscence Therapy in Dementia Patients
If you are caring for a loved one with dementia, you are probably familiar with reminiscence therapy. This form of reconnecting a loved one with their memories is a happy occurrence that health aides, family members, and friends can take part in.
Create a safe space.
For this therapy to truly be fruitful, it’s best to start from a foundation of calm and peace. Choose a space that is not over stimulating or cluttered. Make certain that all screens are turned off and any background noise is kept to a minimum. Choose a sitting area that is especially comfortable that makes your loved one feel safe and cared for. By taking the time to foster a safe space, you lay the groundwork for your loved one to better explore their memories.
Remember, this is reminiscence – not recollection!
Sounds confusing, right?
To truly practice reminiscence therapy, it’s best to treat this as a chance to share memories, not quiz your loved one on their memory. You don’t want this to feel like an interrogation about your loved one’s life!
For those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia, an out of place memory can be quite confusing. When others are insisting something happened that they don’t recall, the dementia patient can become agitated and confused. Thus, treat this therapy session as a chance for your loved one to share in a pleasant memory. Avoid questions like “do you remember this?” Instead, aim for exploratory questions. Build upon the world that your loved one is creating. Most importantly: don’t push it if a memory does not come to them.
Embrace the memory, whether it is good or bad.
Your loved one has lived a full life and may have some bad memories mixed in with the good ones. Though this therapy aims to bring forth pleasant reminiscence, it is possible that a not so nice memory may come to the forefront.
If this happens, don’t shut it down. Meet your loved one where they are with grace and compassion. Take in their mental state and see if it is possible to guide them towards a happier memory.
If they enter into distress, it’s okay to take a break. Let your loved one know that they are in control and the session can stop whenever they would like.
Contact an experienced home healthcare aid, like one from Expicare Nursing Agency, today to learn more about reminiscence therapy for dementia patients.