Reminiscence activites/therapy for dementia

Reminiscence therapy and activities for dementia patients

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are a real scourge of our time. Every year, more and more younger people are developing these conditions. Fortunately, although there is no pill for dementia, there are other forms of support for affected seniors and activities to improve the brain’s cognitive abilities and memory that you can incorporate into your daily life to support loved ones suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

What is reminiscence therapy for dementia patients? What are the best activities for dementia patients? Today, we will tell you more about reminiscence therapy and reveal some interesting ideas for elderly activities to help fight the disease.

What is reminiscence therapy?

Reminiscence therapy serves to counsel and support older adults and has been used as an intervention technique for patients with brain injury and those who appear to have ‘Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive illness’. Reminiscence therapy is defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) as “the use of life stories – written, oral or both – to improve psychological wellbeing”. This therapy is often used with older adults.” This form of therapeutic intervention respects the individual’s life and experiences, to help the patient maintain good mental health.

Two types of reminiscence therapy for dementia patients

The course of reminiscence therapy varies according to the practitioner and the patient. However, there is a distinction between two therapeutic types in reminiscence therapy – integrative and instrumental.

Integrative reminiscence therapy

Integrative reminiscence therapy is a process in which individuals attempt to accept negative past events, resolve past conflicts, reconcile discrepancies between ideals and reality, identify continuity between past and present, and find meaning and value in life. The integrative life review provides individuals with an opportunity to examine events in their lives that may negate negative self-perceptions associated with depression. Participants review both good and bad experiences in a lifelong context, which shows them that negative experiences in one life domain can be mediated by positive events in another.

ideas for elderly activities

Instrumental reminiscence therapy

Instrumental reminiscence therapy helps older people to recall past actions and coping strategies, including memories of plans devised to resolve difficult situations, goal-directed actions, and the achievement of their own goals or goals which others were helped to achieve. This approach to reminiscence therapy relegates roles and commitments that are no longer satisfying or achievable to the periphery and helps patients to invest in other goals that are more compatible with their current life circumstances. This can be particularly helpful for older people who may not be able to do the things they used to be able to do.

Top activities for dementia patients

Here are some ideas for elderly activities that can support dementia management and improve brain function and memory.

dementia activities

Start with a conversation

The first step to creating an effective reminiscence therapy is to have frequent conversations with your seniors about their life and take notes. Based on the conversation notes, you would be able to create other dementia activities.  What to ask? Ask about everything from past or present hobbies to important people in their life.

Memory boosting activities for dementia patients

Below you will find four types of activities for dementia patients to support their memory and brain function.


Research shows that music is effective in engaging older people with dementia. To find out what your loved one used to listen to and play this music for them regularly. And if your loved one’s dementia patient enjoys singing, there are plenty of karaoke subtitled creations on YouTube.

Memory box

Creating a memory box together for a patient is one of the best activities for dementia patients. In your memory box, you should include anything that will remind the patient of years gone by, such as family photographs, favourite books and CDs, tickets to events that are important to you and other trinkets.

activities for dementia patients

Arts and crafts

If your loved one enjoyed doing arts and crafts in their spare time, it’s worth revisiting this passion. Artwork develops the mind and motor skills. Therefore, it’s a good idea to offer your seniors to paint by numbers or plain, colour, crochet, rug making and other forms of crafts.


As reminiscence therapy for dementia patients is mainly about reminiscence, it is a good idea to search the attic or basement for objects that will remind them of the old days and set them up in the flat.

Reminiscence therapy for dementia patients – conclusion

Reminiscence therapy is a powerful and non-invasive form of dealing with the effects of dementia, so be sure to try it out if your loved one suffers from this condition.