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Thursday, 15 December 2016

Reminiscence Activity

Reminiscence (including life story work and memory boxes)
People with dementia can often remember the distant past more easily than recent events.

Activities focusing on reminiscence can help improve mood and wellbeing, and promotes social inclusion and seeing the person as an individual with a unique life experience. It is a good way of helping relatives and friends stay connected as well.

There are many ways to initiate conversation and participation in reminiscence, including using photos, creating a life story book or using technology, for example watching memorable events (such as the Olympics, a royal wedding or the moon landings) on a computer or handheld device.

Reminiscence should focus on the individual and their experiences; a person's memories will have helped shape their present identity. However, it should be noted that not everyone will enjoy reminiscing about the past.

The following suggestions for reminiscence activities may be helpful:
·         Involve the person with dementia. It is their life history and talking about it together will be beneficial.

·         Tangible items are an effective way of triggering memories. These could be photos or objects with significance to the person such as a football or quilt.

·         Make up a 'memory box', life story book or an attractive display board that captures important elements of the person's life. Physically handling things may trigger memories more effectively than looking at pictures.

·         A visit to a favourite place might also prompt happy memories and provide another opportunity to get out and about.

·         Dementia damages the memory, and the thinking and reasoning parts of the brain, but emotions remain intact. It is not necessarily a bad thing if the person becomes emotional, although you may uncover painful memories as well as happy ones. Make sure you acknowledge someone's feelings and allow them to express themselves.

·         Avoid asking very specific questions that require factual responses and could put the person under pressure, for example, asking where and when a photo was taken. The main aim is to enjoy the memories rather than to make the person feel tested in any way.

·         It is important to show a genuine interest in what the person is saying and value their story.

·         Stimulating all a person's senses is important, as is using verbal and non-verbal communication.

·         Reminiscence may uncover other unknown activities or interests that the person has previously enjoyed.
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