Sometimes, even those nurses who are working for caregiver services in Chicago have difficulty caring for their patients with dementia.
People with dementia or memory loss don’t actually lose all of their memories; they lose ones that recently happened. Their long-term memories, those from years ago, are still there. To help these adults remember the things they’d forgotten, there something called Reminiscence Therapy.
What is Reminiscence Therapy?
What happens in Reminiscence Therapy is that a group of adults who have dementia or memory loss can meet as a group and share their experiences in life. Because memory loss can often cause these people to feel less confident, confused, and vulnerable, this social interaction can help them remember not just their memories, but also that they are still a person and maybe even boost their self-esteem. These sessions can also help them realize or make a connection between the present and their past.
A group of people will meet during a session with a therapist, and there they will share their experiences, memories, or stories they remember. The therapist will use random photographs to kick-start these people’s minds and get them to remember whatever memories they have stored. When these memories are tapped into, the patient will feel a torrent of emotions, and whether they’re happy or sad, this can lead to remembering other memories.
For those who prefer one on one sessions, the therapist can gather the information the patient has shared with them and compile them into a book that can turn out like a biography or a memoir. This book can help the patient remember their individuality and who they are, and they can consider this a very valuable object and an act of kindness.
This kind of therapy is treatment for dementia, memory loss, anxiety, and depression.
A reminiscence book can be used in these therapeutic sessions by a therapist. These books are filled with images that don’t have text on it and they’re images that can trigger memories or leave the viewer to interpret it on their own. Usually, patients with dementia or memory loss are good at arts and crafts and doing a procedure they’ve already learned before.
An example of a picture in a reminiscence book can be a cupcakes and tea parties, or a messy kitchen counter with a bowl of mixed batter, cracked eggs and a wooden spoon, together with many other tools for baking a cake. This can help a patient with dementia or memory loss remember a memory that has something to do with the picture, such as their own birthday party years ago, their child’s graduation party, anything that can be a special event such as a bake sale. The purpose of these images is to pull a response from patients with memory loss.
When the patient is looking at a picture in the book, the therapist can ask, “Does this photo have a story?” and since the photos can’t influence the patient can say something that is of their own interpretation or something that relates to their own life.
However, it might take time for a person with dementia or memory loss before they respond to a picture. Don’t underestimate the person and assume that they don’t understand what they’re looking at.
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