Visit our Web Site Caring Right at Home
spacer
Order Copies for Your Event 
spacer
Send to a Friend
spacer
Subscribe Now
Recommended Links   April 2009 
Search for Care
by City, State
or ZIP Code

Visit our
Homecare Blog


Providing a website featuring publications in the nature of blogs, articles, and brochures in the fields of home health care services, non-medical personal care assistance with activities of daily living, and disease maintenance.


"Remember When...?" The Value of Reminiscing

All people reminisce. Remembering times past is a pleasant diversion, stimulates the mind, and helps give us perspective and a sense of who we are. As a recent study from the Association for Psychological Science states, "Nostalgia is now emerging as a fundamental human strength." 

Reminiscing

Sometimes family members and friends are concerned when senior loved ones repeat stories, returning to the same ones again and again. But this can be a beneficial part of the life review process.
___________________

Reminiscing, the process of "life review," is an important part of old age. As seniors recall their accomplishments and come to terms with past conflicts and disappointments, they achieve a heightened sense of personal identity and meaning in life.

Reminiscing also enhances self-esteem. Studies suggest that seniors who are encouraged to share events from their lives with others experience an increased sense of peace and self-worth. We all have a lifelong need to see ourselves as unique individuals, and the recollection of pleasant experiences, past accomplishments, and triumphs over adversity is part of this.

Reminiscing can be an important tool for socialization. Think about what happens when you first make a friend: you spend much time "filling each other in" on your life history—who you are and have been, where you have lived, who is important in your life. For seniors who receive home care, sharing memories is a great way for staff to get to know the person better by learning about their life stories and accomplishments.

Reminiscing can be especially important for cognitively impaired persons. Those with Alzheimer's disease or other dementia can often recall long-past occasions better than the events of the current day, since the disease affects long-term less than short-term memory. Interactions that include the recollection of events past can have a positive effect on the dementia patient's emotional well-being.

Why Does My Loved One Repeat the Same Stories?

Sometimes family members and friends are concerned if the older adult repeats stories, returning to the same ones again and again. But recognize that this, too, is part of the life review process: the repeated stories are probably those that the person finds the most pleasant to recall, or may concern events that he or she is "working through." Remember that a response from you is not necessarily required; he or she may just need you to listen in a non-judgmental manner.

Sometimes an older adult may seem to dwell upon life experiences that cause sadness, anger or frustration. Understand that this, too, is a way of dealing with the past and can be a sign of emotional health.  Allow these feelings to come out, and don't try to suppress such expressions by immediately attempting to cheer up or distract your loved one. But if he or she seems "stuck" in a particular disturbing experience or time, encourage your loved one to speak to the healthcare provider. 

Older adults are a treasury of stored experience. Life review and discussing "the good old days" is a beneficial, purposeful activity that helps older adults maintain a positive outlook.

line

Encouraging the Sharing of Memories

If reminiscing seems beneficial for your loved one, here are some techniques that eldercare mental health specialists recommend for starting a conversation revolving around the recalling of the past:

  • Try a multisensory approach, using "jump starts" such as photographs, music, smells, and things to be touched.

  • Ask questions beginning with "Tell me about the time...."  Encourage your loved one to talk about his or her childhood, school days, courtship, experiences during the Depression and wartime years, and other important life events.

  • Help your loved one write, record, or tape his or her autobiography. This is a meaningful task that provides the satisfaction of knowing that the two of you are producing a record that will be valued by generations to come. For some useful tips on creating a record of life experiences, visit the StoryCorps website.

line

Right at Home is a national organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for those we serve. We fulfill that mission through a dedicated network of locally owned, franchised providers of in-home care and assistance services.


Next Article>>
Bookmark and Share
Facebook IconLinkedIn IconTwitter IconTwitter Icon
Print This Article
Print This Issue
Article Library
 This Issue
"Remember When...?" The Value of Reminiscing
Home Care Supports Recovery After a Stroke
Dementia Caregiving: Tips for Making Mealtimes Easier and More Enjoyable
New Study Shows that Seniors May Need Less Sleep
Family Caregivers and Depression--Symptoms and Hope
 Archives

2014 (hide list)

    08/01/2014

    07/01/2014

    06/01/2014

    05/01/2014

    04/01/2014

    03/01/2014

    02/01/2014

    01/01/2014

2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006