Reminiscence therapy is a technique that involves discussing memories and past experiences with others using tangible prompts such as photographs, music, or other sensory cues to evoke memories and stimulate conversation. It is often used as a therapeutic intervention for individuals with dementia and has been found to have many benefits.
One updated Cochrane Review published in 2018 evaluated the effectiveness of reminiscence therapy for dementia. The review found that reminiscence therapy has a positive effect on mood and quality of life for individuals with dementia, particularly when the therapy is conducted in a group setting.
Another meta-analysis published in 2023 evaluated the effectiveness of reminiscence therapy in relieving cancer-related symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, in cancer survivors. The study found that reminiscence therapy has a positive effect on improving cancer-related symptoms and quality of life for cancer survivors.
In addition, an innovative way of offering reminiscence therapy involves the use of technology-assisted applications, which satisfy the needs of the user. For example, an AI-based computer application was developed that recreates reminiscence therapy in a personalized way, meeting the characteristics of therapy guided by a therapist or caregiver. A pilot study carried out at five senior centers in Barcelona and Portugal showed positive results, indicating that the high frequency of positive emotions increased in the participants at the end of the intervention, while the low frequencies of negative emotions were maintained at the end of the intervention.
Furthermore, reminiscence therapy has also been found to be useful in improving mental health in local residents. A study conducted on 105 healthcare professionals and 151 local residents showed that the rates of interest and understanding of trainees increased after the workshop. Concerning group work, 89.2% of the participants felt that reminiscence therapy would prove helpful in their life.
Finally, a study published in 2020 used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to explore the effectiveness of old public photos in evoking autobiographical memories and compare brain-activation responses to photos between elderly women with depressive symptoms and normal controls. The study found that old public photos can evoke autobiographical memory, and reminiscence is associated with decreased activation of brain areas in individuals with depressive symptoms.
In conclusion, reminiscence therapy has been found to have many benefits, including improving quality of life, mood, and mental health for individuals with dementia, cancer survivors, and local residents. Additionally, the use of technology-assisted applications has made reminiscence therapy more accessible to individuals, and further studies continue to explore the potential effectiveness of reminiscence therapy in various populations.