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Making Memories – The Power of Reminiscence in Care Homes

As a care provider, we’re often asked about the kind of lifestyle that’s on offer to our residents and how we support them in ageing well.

The answer is simple; every Athena Healthcare Group lodge has an in-home Lifestyle & Wellbeing team, responsible for creating and running weekly activities programmes that are fun, engaging and beneficial for resident’s wellbeing.

By providing meaningful in-house activities, outings, events and enabling regular contact with the community, we can support care home residents’ choices, helping them to lead the lifestyle that is best suits their needs.

As part of our most recent Group initiative, we have been supporting our residents in revisiting previous occupations, hobbies and meaningful memories; this kind of activity is known as reminiscence. Reminiscence is a cognitive therapy that can be beneficial for us all, but especially those living with different forms of dementia or cognitive disorders.

The therapy can take many forms, but the objective remains the same – to help participants recollect events, people and places from their past through stimulating and triggering the senses (sight, touch, taste, smell & sound).

Methods of reminiscence therapy are just as varied as each individual taking part. Therapeutic activities are tailored to each person and can include:

  • Conversations
  • The use of meaningful possessions or objects
  • Watching films & listening to music
  • Revisiting places that hold meaning

The reminiscence activity may be as simple as a conversation; where the person remembering is given the opportunity to tell a story from their past, with minimal prompting – promoting the use of several areas effected by cognitive disorders. Some benefits of such activity can include:

  • Increased communication
  • Increased confidence and self-esteem
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Relieved symptoms of depression & boredom
  • Reduced irritability
  • Individual can be more grounded & at ease with their surroundings
  • Preservation of family history

Music Therapy is another alternative therapy that has close links to reminiscence. Music has the ability to prompt memory recall and self-expression, especially when movement and speech are limited. This provides a number of benefits including reduced stress, improved speech and increased movement.

Music therapy can help people communicate, especially those living with dementia. Playing music that has been significant in their life can produce an emotional response and trigger brain activity. Evoking fond memories can provide a sense of belonging and happiness to each individual and sharing these memories with carers, family and friends can enhance communication and social connections.

Much like running or swimming, alternative therapies like reminiscence or music therapy promote skills which need to be practiced at regular intervals to get the most out of the therapy. This can be monitored and managed effectively within a care setting – exercising your mind and flexing those memory muscles will help slow the cognitive decline that comes with age.


At the Athena Healthcare Group, we support the use of alternative therapies, such as reminiscence or music therapy, as supplementary support to the superior care delivered to our residents.

Reminiscence and music therapy are such powerful activities for us all to engage in, especially older people. With so many mental and physical health benefits well documented, this simple yet effective activity is something well worth participating in if you have the opportunity.

To find out more about the care services offered by the Athena Healthcare Group, please get in touch using the online contact form.

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