For the 6 million people in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s, the holiday season is great time for them to experience the benefits of reminiscence therapy.
We all know how recalling special family moments or traditions during the holidays, whether it’s Christmas or Christmas Eve, New Year’s, Hannukah, Kwanzaa or other celebrations, can bring a smile to your face.
How you had fun family traditions such as setting cookies out for Santa Claus, special decorations, listening to holiday music, big meals, or traveling to see relatives. Those memories are dear to all of us and special and they may help your loved ones with Alzheimer’s or related dementia to enjoy better communication and improved moods.
How Memories Can Help
One of the best things loved ones can do for seniors and the elderly with Alzheimer’s and related dementia is help engage their minds. One way to do this is to talk about past events, traditions, funny mishaps, or other things that happened around the holidays.
This is called reminiscence therapy. It works by helping seniors who have memory loss to work their mind. You can trigger these memories and reminisces by trying to draw out these memories and other experiences. Often, they’re unable to do it on their own.
That’s why the months around the holidays are so helpful. The special events, lights, decorations, music, smells, memories, and photos can help you trigger in your loved ones their reminisces. It’s a way to help them take an enjoyable trip down memory lane.
How Reminiscence Therapy Helps Seniors
According to the National Institute of Health, reminiscence therapy is defined as a discussion of past activities, events, or experiences with someone else, or a group of people.
Items such as photographs or videos, or music or archival recordings, or familiar movies or shows from the past can trigger memories and further discussion. By participating in reminiscence therapy, seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia may see an improvement in their communication with caregivers. They may also have lower stress between them and their caregivers.
Now that the holidays are upon us, make it a reason for the season to ask your loved one about their memories. And be prepared to help them with prompts, hints, or even special items from their past.
A CARING-FIRST ENVIRONMENT
Senior living communities like Bellaire at Stone Port are precisely that—a community. Residents become friends and even family, and a caring team is there to help them maintain their quality of life.
At Bellaire at Stone Port, we offer both Assisted Living and Memory Care and we care with Honesty, Excellence, Accountability, Residents first and Teamwork. We like to call it Caring with H.E.A.R.T.™!