For many years it was thought within medical profession that nostalgia had a negative impact on people’s mental health. But after decades of research it has now been shown that nostalgia spaces actually have a beneficial effect. And no more so for than in Dementia Care.
What is Nostalgia therapy?
Nostalgia therapy, or Reminiscence therapy as it is often referred to is the practice of using physical prompts such as photographs, film footage, props, furniture and music. It has become common practice for a lot of care homes to create nostalgia spaces from a simple 1950s living room set up to whole high streets complete with bus stops or more recently a care home in Bradford have set up a train carriage featuring a trolley service and TVs that act as windows, displaying the passing scenery.
What are the benefits of Nostalgia spaces?
Research has shown that nostalgia spaces help improve mood, cognition and general behaviour. Because those with Dementia and Alzheimer’s will increasingly struggle with their short term memory, it’s thought that evoking past memories of happy times and places help elevate people’s moods and create a feeling of belonging and safety. Nostalgia spaces help bring about comfort.
What the experts say
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Society said:
“Whether it’s a sunny day or calming decor, the environment around us has a real impact on our quality of life. This is especially true for people with dementia who may be experiencing sensory difficulties or may become confused in unfamiliar places.
“Designs that connect people with their past and promote a personalised care approach to help reduce anxiety and confusion can be particularly beneficial. Two thirds of people in care homes have some form of dementia and numbers of those with the condition are soaring so delivering quality care across the board is vital.”
Implementing small changes can make a big difference
It might not always be possible to create large nostalgia spaces at home or in care facilities, but it is easy to create nostalgia prompts such as memory boxes or memory albums. Even CDs or playlists that bring back memories for your loved one will be beneficial to their mood.
At Waltham House, we use dementia care mapping to further understand our residents meaning we can tailor their care. If you’d like to organise a visit or have a chat about the care we provide, you can call on 01472 827725 or via our contact page.