Many adults who live in independent living communities experience forgetfulness. Memories fade as we get older, but there are steps we can take that can help delay memory loss. One method is to use reminiscing meetings. Studies show that these meetings, which dig deep into the memory, can be very beneficial to residents of independent living communities.
Benefits to residents include:
- Reminiscing helps to resolve problems from the past, such as traumatic events, and obtain closure.
- Encouraging social interaction and reminding people of happier times, sharing memories can combat depression and feelings of hopelessness.
- A feeling of well-being related to the recollection of memories from years past.
- Improving self-esteem, getting a stronger sense of who they are.
- Alleviating feelings of isolation and loneliness, thanks to social interaction.
- Better communication – by tapping into the memories of long ago, discover communication skills that may have been unused and neglected all these years.
- The opportunity to recall some family folklore or funny stories that can be shared with children and grandchildren, which improves family relationships.
- Being able to relate to another adult as a peer, not as a patient.
- Telling stories exercises the brain and improves cognitive abilities.
During the reminiscing meeting, the caregiver or therapist may use props that rely on the five senses: sight, taste, touch, smell, and sound — this may help trigger some long forgotten events.
Some topics to discuss during reminiscing meetings:
- What do you remember about girl scouts? Were you one? Was your daughter a girl scout and did you help her sell cookies?
- What was the price of a loaf of bread when you were a child? How about a gallon of milk?
- What was your first job? What did you like about it? What did you dislike?
- Did you have a pet growing up? What was his favorite snack?
- What church did you go to as a child? Did you have many friends that went to the same church? Where in your neighborhood did they live?
- Tell me about a wedding you attended in your youth – the wedding of a family member or close friend. What color were the bridesmaids’ dresses? What songs were played at the reception?
- Tell me about your first car. What color was it? Do you remember how much it cost? What was the first road trip you took?
If the participant can’t recall an event, move on to the next question. Please respect their privacy and keep all information confidential to promote trust.
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