Reminiscence therapy (RT) has proved promising as a way to help combat the social isolation effects of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. In fact, group RT is the only intervention that was shown to be effective in reducing loneliness in seniors in a recent systematic review of more than 400 studies of social isolation.
RT can be immersive. Each different reminiscence medium offers another opportunity to trigger memories, which can be helpful in the process of strengthening cognition and limiting social isolation. This multi-pronged approach may provide measurable support for loved ones when they face cognitive decline.
However, traditional reminiscence therapy is a labor-intensive process. This often involves a caregiver organizing an entire set of information for each session and putting in a lot of time and energy to guide the therapy. Thankfully, advances in technology are making RT a more convenient experience.
Images, videos, audio and text
You might think of reminiscing about old times as looking through photographs. Who doesn’t love to flip through a photo album? But modern reminiscence therapy is a more involved experience using multiple mediums to access long-term memories. For example:
- Video provides an immersive experience that pictures can’t. Transferring those old VHS tapes over to new technology is a smart idea, as these videos can provide a more full, rich experience that help your loved one to relive an event. Whether it’s their child’s first steps or their wedding, video provides a touchpoint for people to access those memories.
- Photos, on the other hand, may spark intense emotions due to their specific focus. They capture one moment in time. They’re also the most common way for people to commemorate events, so you probably have many of them. A digital photo album with your loved one’s favorite music playing quietly in the background can be a soothing experience.
- Audio is another excellent tool, especially among seniors who have trouble recognizing people and places. Audio may help unearth emotions associated with those memories, even if they can’t grasp those memories completely.
- Using text, such as asking questions or labeling a past memory, can also be helpful in this process.
- Music is strongly affiliated with many memories. Hearing an important or sentimental song playing in the background during RT may help draw out more details or evoke emotions that visual stimuli along cannot.
Combining all of these tools provides a more complete reminiscence therapy experience for the individual, unlocking benefits from improving mood to strengthening cognition. By using multiple points of contact, there are more opportunities for meaningful recognition of memories. There is also scientific evidence re-accessing long-term memories may help strengthen short-term memory.
Using the past to influence the present
The goal of reminiscence therapy is to use an individual’s past memories to dampen the effects of their present condition. By reliving fond memories through sight and sound, the pernicious symptoms of cognitive decline may be mitigated, such as depression, anxiety and social isolation.
Improved mood may lead a person to become more social and outgoing with others. The social withdrawal so common among dementia sufferers may be addressed through effective use of reminiscence therapy. Following this therapy, they may seek out human interaction, while reporting fewer feelings of depression and loneliness.
Revolutionizing reminiscence therapy
While a multimedia approach to this therapy may be ideal for the individual, it isn’t always ideal for the caregiver, who often needs to put in many hours of preparation. ReminX strives to provide a multimedia experience that exposes individuals to a full gamut of stimuli.
Often, caregivers feel solely responsible for supporting the mental health of loved ones. But it doesn’t have to be this way. ReminX allows caregivers more flexibility, while delivering RT that has the potential to limit the effects of social isolation and combat symptoms like depression and anxiety.
With ReminX’s tablet, there’s no technology for individuals to learn. By simply picking up the tablet, it will start playing a customized program just for them. When they put the tablet back on the charging dock, it doubles as a digital photo frame. And with our infrastructure, it’s easy for family members to upload content that’s automatically organized into a unique, personalized program for your loved one.
With ReminX, helping your loved one with reminiscence therapy is easy. By spending a few minutes with our app, you could help make a meaningful difference in their mood and social outlook. Upload pictures, videos and audio, then let our system take care of delivering it to your loved one. Click here to learn more about ReminX.