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How to Reminisce With a Older Adult

ReminisceReminisce is defined as: indulge in enjoyable recollection of past events. Talk, think or write about things that happened in the past. This is something everyone can do with an older loved one, friend, neighbor or patient. You can connect with that older adult, you can bring joy to them, and more than anything you can help their mind remember and reminisce. Sometimes you are unsure of how to connect with an older adult because you have nothing in common, you live in two different time periods and you know way more than they do. But truth is they were just like you once, they actually lived through more and have more experience that most. Use your time with an older adult to learn, have fun and give them happiness. Sometimes people forget to ask about others, how they are doing, what they are thinking and what they are feeling, these are little things we can do. There are several benefits of senior reminiscing.

  • Increased ability to communicate. When you see someone re-tell a story they come alive with memory and emotion. Research has shown new pathways in the brain form as a person remembers the past
  • It can provide relief from boredom, a big distraction from day to day problems or an illness.
  • Alleviate symptoms of depression and helps cope with aging
  • Reestablish life meaning for a person through a connection to the past and reassert that persons feeling of importance
  • Increased self-worth and sense of belonging
  • Preserve stories and memories for future generations
  • Reminiscing about their lives can remind them of their purpose. The older we get the easier it is to forget when we were useful and needed. Going back in time to when we were the most active and productive, reminds us of the impact we have had on those around us and our world as a whole

Encourage seniors to talk, to tell stories and share insight on their pasts and our futures. Seniors can do this one on one with you or even in a group of other seniors. This can spark so much in their minds and they can really come alive. Also think of your grandparents have you asked them questions about their past, about your family, about their life advice? I am sure most have not and we are all guilty of this. My grandparents have been around my whole life and I cannot tell you what my grandpa did for a living or how many sisters and brothers my grandma had. Thankfully I have the opportunity to still ask my grandma but not my grandpa. I could have learned so much and really given him an opportunity to reminisce with me and share his stories and feel important. Some ways to initiate senior reminiscing is through questions or even a memory box filled with things they had. Some great questions to ask are:

  1. What are the most difficult and most rewarding things about growing older?
  2. What life advice would you pass along to your grandchildren?
  3. What do you want your children and grandchildren to remember about you?
  4. What big world events were the most memorable while you were growing up?
  5. What were your favorite games and hobbies? Did you play any sports? What else did you do for fun?

These are all great questions that can trigger memories and also let you connect, smile and laugh with your older loved one. Their knowledge can be helpful but also fun; don’t let this time pass you by.

Please call Relevar Home Care for more ideas on closing the gap between the generations. (586) 493-7677. We service many counties such as Genesee and Macomb.