How Nostalgia Helps Dementia Patients

Dementia is more than a disease. It’s an existential threat that affects both sufferers and their families. Besides professional aged care services, you can help patients through nostalgia-based activities.

Read to know how you can help your loved one through nostalgia:

Family involvement in aged care

Before incorporating nostalgia in therapy, families must be 100% committed to participating. Family presence is crucial whether in nursing facilities or in their homes.

Doctors and therapists, of course, provide better streamlined treatment for Dementia patients. But nothing beats the warmth and joy a patient feels upon seeing familiar faces.

Petriwskyj A., et al. (2014) also discovered the importance of adequate support from aged care facilities to families. If nursing homes always ensure to involve families in decision-making, better solutions follow.

Thus, families and respite care or age care Melbourne providers must always work together. They must discuss ways to ease dementia patients’ Quality of Life (QoL). One of those must be using nostalgia in therapy.

What is nostalgia?

Nostalgia is what you feel whenever you long for the past. But nostalgia is beyond sentimental—it’s also powerful.

Many years ago, nostalgia was called an illness—that it was harming to mental health. Today, psychological, social science, and political science academic research prove the opposite. One notable pioneer for this progress is Greek academic Constantine Sedikides.

With Sedikides’ leading the way, academic research for the medical benefits of nostalgia followed. Since then, many findings have been confirming how nostalgia combats loneliness and isolation.

Those findings led to discovering the effectiveness of nostalgia-based treatments. The diseases it alleviates are clinical depression, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.

Nostalgia in aged care therapy

How exactly is nostalgia used in treating dementia patients?

Among the many dementia treatments is the nostalgia-based Reminiscence Therapy.

Reminiscence Therapy (RT) discusses the patient’s past accomplishments and experiences. It aims to improve their cognition and mood. RT includes activities that stimulate their sensations and allows them to remember defining past experiences and memories.

Is it effective? Yes.

Woods, et al. (2018) found that RT improves “cognition, communication, and mood”. They also found that RT is the most beneficial in home cares. RT at homes can enhance their QoL, communication, and cognition. And while group RT is effective, individual RT brings more benefits.


Activities you can do together

If you have a loved one who suffers from dementia, how can you help them?

There are a couple of activities you can do together, such as…

…listening to their favorite music.

With the availability of streaming services, you can easily look up their favourite songs. Try Spotify or YouTube. A simple listening session to their beloved artists and albums will take them back to their special days.

…smelling familiar scents.

Do a scent activity. You can light candles or pick their favourite flowers. You can also go to places they visited in their childhood. It may be a park, an old hiking spot, or even their old high school.

…cooking their favourite dishes.

Conduct a family dinner every month. Make sure their favourite dishes, desserts, and drinks are there. This is also a good opportunity for bonding with old friends and relatives.

…browsing family photos.

Look at family albums together. Help them remember faces, names, and places. You can scan them, store in your iPad, and then upload to Google Photos for easier viewing.

Capture your moments.

This is how nostalgia helps dementia patients heal—through reminiscing and strengthening bonds.

Now, while you can’t invent a time machine, you have the camera for immortalizing your special moments.

While doing nostalgia-based activities, don’t forget to take pictures. You can hire professional photographers from Edge Photography. Don’t think twice in hiring an expert eye to capture your most precious moments.