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Reminiscing Therapy and Dementia

What is it?

Reminiscing Therapy is the use of life histories – written, oral, or both – to

improve an individual’s sense of fulfilment, self-esteem and psychological well-being. 

At Treasured Times we align with scientific research that tells us that by looking back and reconciling one’s accomplishments and losses, wisdom can be attained. If this process remains unfinished however; despair will ensue.  “Looking back” is therefore integral to attaining wisdom and deflecting despair in older age. 


When older people face discrimination that lowers their self-esteem, it creates

conflict between their past and their present self-concept.  One way to deal with this conflict  is simply - to move away.  Often, older people move away from society in order not to get hurt. Within this context, reminiscing allows older adults to maintain their sense of ‘personhood’ and their self-esteem.


This was tested in 1971, when Charles Lewis in ‘Reminiscing and Self-Concept in Old Age’ examined whether remembering the past allows older people to re-affirm their importance in the world.  There were already studies showing that older men who reminisce tended to be less depressed and tended to live longer.  But Lewis wanted to find out if reminiscing improved older men’s self-esteem especially after  experiencing a threat.  Lewis’s study showed that those that reminisce deflect some of today’s stressors by inflating their sense of 'self' on the basis of past accomplishments or states.


In 2005, Welsh scientist Bob Woods and his colleagues performed a review of four clinical trials and Reminiscing Therapy was found to improve thinking (cognition), mood and general behaviour.  In addition, and as an added bonus, those caring for the patient also showed reduced levels of stress and strain.  Mounting evidence suggests that RT is, to varying degrees, effective in improving mood, thinking and well-being in patients with dementia.


Living with Dementia means to live in the moment, because the anchoring to the present and being able to predict a future has been disrupted.  People with dementia may be operating from knowledge of their 'former self,' which may not match their current status. The brain is “concerned” with time. There is agreement among philosophers and neurologists that perception of time is an important human component.  By thinking ourselves younger we allow our body and mind to behave as though we are younger and therefore we exercise these capacities more. Eventually such exercise improves our capacity.


What We Offer

At Treasured Times we offer and provide daily stimulation, interest, enjoyment and fun for older people and people living with dementia.


We use a range of resources which reflect the world that many older people live in; but which is often their experience of reality. 


These resources and activities trigger memories of a time when they felt better about themselves, a times when they were stronger and felt more 'important.'  This engagement helps older people feel good about themselves.


Reminiscing Therapy evokes lasting feelings of happiness and enhanced self-esteem.  It also provides the perfect opportunity for interpersonal engagement. 


With our short, easy-to-digest activities, older people enjoy sharing their precious memories with others, paving the way to re-building relationships with loved ones.


Please contact us to discuss individualised packages for you or your loved one.

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