Why is reminiscence so important?

Why is reminiscence so important?

We often hear about reminiscence therapy in Nursing home environments, and maybe some of you are wondering just how important or beneficial these sessions are to our elderly relatives or friends. In this blog I will look at what is reminiscence, why it is important and how you can incorporate reminiscence into your visits.

What is reminiscence?

The definition of Reminiscence is – “a story told about a past event remembered by the narrator”. If we look at synonyms of the word reminiscence – Memories, recollections, reflections, remembrances are some of the words that are used.


Why is reminiscence so important as we get older?


As we get older we generally like to look back over the years gone by and reminisce. But really at all ages we like to get together with friends and family and talk about old times. It encourages a sense of family, community and involvement.

By looking back and reminiscing with others we can feel worthwhile in that our contribution to life is remembered and valued.

It is so important for our older population to feel they can still contribute to society, and by sharing their stories of growing up and what life was like for them we can truly learn and be educated by their stories. We should never underestimate the importance of how it makes someone feel when we hear their story and share in their joy or wisdom.

It is invaluable to remind our older generation that we can still learn from them. When we are busy with the goings on of daily life, taking time out and engaging with our older population is so beneficial to all.


How can I incorporate reminiscence into my visit?


Sometimes we can struggle to find topics of conversations that spark an interest when visiting your relative/friend in a Nursing home. We speak about our lives but that can often feel very far removed from their lives. Some subjects that could work to start your own reminiscence time with your relative/friend might include:


  • Music they liked as a child and a young adult
  • Dance halls they may have visited
  • Their first job
  • Their family pet
  • Their favourite holiday, where they visited when they were young
  • Cousins and family visits
  • When they first got indoor plumbing, their first TV, even their first colour TV
  • How things have changed in science and technology from their childhood to now
  • Their favourite movie, actress or actor
  • Any experiences of World war 2
  • Older people they knew who influenced them as a child
  • First time tasting a pizza or pasta

These are just a few ideas and thoughts about reminiscence .


Here in Beechtree we encourage family’s and relatives to document the Residents life story so staff can reminisce and engage with Residents about their life. Over the years we have found reminiscence to have a soothing effect on many Residents as they feel a sense of comforting and belonging with the familiarity of the stories being told . So hopefully some of this may help in maintaining and deepening your connection with your loved one. It is by valuing someone’s story that we acknowledge their contribution to life.