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A Trip Down Memory Lane- the benefits of reminiscing in aged care

July 24, 2019

Reminiscence can be a powerful tool when working in aged care.
There are many positive benefits to reminiscence and various activities that can be utilised to recall memories. By reminiscing, it can help the elderly to find meaning, form friendships and in some instances can help to gain closure.

What is reminiscence?

Reminiscence, sometimes described as “random remembering”, is the joyful recollection of people, experiences, and relationships from the past. This is often done through storytelling, daydreaming, and nostalgia.

Anyone who has lived to a certain age will indulge in reminiscence at one point, like remembering the movie you watched on your 10th birthday, getting your first car, or the dress your wife wore the day you proposed.

As we advance into old age, reminiscence takes on more significance. Experts who have studied aging and memory believe that seniors who were able to look back on life events in all their highs and lows enjoyed a greater deal of satisfaction.

For the American Psychological Association (APA), reminiscence in the form of oral and/or written histories is used in therapy to improve psychological well-being.  Psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, and social workers have used it to help the elderly cope with some of the challenges that come with old age.

Although it is often used interchangeably with “life review”, some practitioners differentiate between the two.

While reminiscence is the spontaneous, passive, and simple recollection of memories, life review is a more structured process that revolves around certain life themes relating to the participant’s childhood, family life, and career, just to name a few.

Why revisit the past?

There are many benefits to reminiscing, including:

  •  Closure – Reminiscence allows individuals in aged care to look back on past conflicts with the benefit of hindsight, maturity, forgiveness, and understanding, allowing them to move forward and live in the present.
  • Meaning – People tell stories to create meaning. Reminiscence helps the elderly recreate their lives’ meaning by connecting the past with the present. It’s also a way for them to reflect on their accomplishments so that they develop a deeper appreciation for what they have done in their lives.
  • Quality of life – Those who reminisce have been shown to have a better outlook on life. Remembering and sharing positive memories not only lifts their mood and self-esteem, it also eases depression. It offers relief to seniors who are less mobile, as it helps them go back to a time when they were more physically active.
  • Communication – As residents engage in animated conversations about the past, memories and emotions are ignited, increasing their ability to communicate. It also allows them to communicate in ways that are meaningful and more personal to them.
  • Connection – Reminiscing can be done in groups, helping residents find common interests and experiences, and gives them opportunities to connect meaningfully with new people.
  • Family history – It helps preserve memories that can be passed down from one generation to another, forging family histories.

Reminiscing activity ideas

Reminiscing can be done one-on-one, within groups, or within families. Having a reminiscence group in a nursing home enables the elderly to start friendships with those in their group and gives them other people to confide in. The spontaneous and unstructured quality of reminiscence also puts them at ease, encouraging them to share more of their recollections in a warm and lively setting.

These ideas can help you get started:

  • Guessing games – Let participants guess the name of an object, place, or famous personality by giving them clues.
  • Famous faces – Show them photos of famous people from past decades to jog their memory and spark conversation.
  • Songs from the past – Bring in an old turntable, play popular songs from their era, and have them guess the title and the artist.
  • Famous movie quotes – Read out popular quotes from old movies and have them guess the title.
  • Games they played as kids – Describe popular kids’ games and toys from their era and have them guess what it is.
  • Remembering the year – Every year and decade has its fads, cultural movements, and historic events. Choose a year or decade, and encourage the participants to share meaningful anecdotes from that time in history.

Through our varied lifestyle program, Embracia plans meaningful and engaging activities for their residents. Often these activities involve reminiscence and evoke a lot of warm and happy memories for our residents.

If you would like to learn more about our program, Contact Embracia today or book a tour and we will happily show you what we are all about.

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The Benefits of Living in a Pet-Friendly Nursing Home

June 18, 2019

Live the best years of your life with an animal companion by your side. There are many benefits of pet-friendly aged care in Melbourne.

Pet-friendly aged care facilities increase the satisfaction and happiness among the elderly, as well as resulting in fewer animal surrenders to pet shelters.

The joys of pet ownership

Pet ownership is mentally beneficial to people of all ages. Bonding with pets for as little as 15 minutes can lower cortisol levels and increase the production of serotonin – that means playing catch with your toy poodle or taking your golden retriever out for a walk can leave you feeling less stressed and happier overall.

And there’s no better time to enjoy the companionship of a devoted pet than in your golden years. With more time to care for pets, you can provide a better quality of life to animals in need of a home.

Retirees who are no longer able to engage in activities they used to enjoy, or stay in touch with friends, will find consolation in the company of their furry friends.

Other benefits include:

  •  More physical activity. Pets, particularly dogs, encourage their owners to engage in light physical activity such as playing, cleaning, and daily walks.
  •  More social interaction. Pet owners generally have more opportunities to socialize by meeting other pet owners or talking to people who show       interest in their pets.
  • Better morale. Pets are known to improve their owners’ mood, lessening feelings of loneliness and isolation, and giving them a renewed sense of purpose.
  • Increased alertness. Pets’ reliance on their owners can make you feel more alert and mentally present.
  • Routine. Pet ownership requires work, but caring for one gives structure to day-to-day life, with owners having to follow regular feeding times and exercise.

The need for pet-friendly aged care services

Despite the benefits of pet ownership, however, only 18% of residential aged care facilities in Australia allow retirees to take their pets with them, according to a 2017 study by the Animal Welfare League of Australia (AWLA). The study also found that 7% of pet surrenders were related to the need for aged care, with over 9,600 surrenders to the RSPCA believed to be elderly-related.

These statistics point to the need for pet-friendly aged care services. The good news is that there are some aged care facilities that acknowledge the benefits of pet ownership and the need for animals to stay with their owners.

The primary benefits of pet-friendly aging care services include:

  •  A reduced need to surrender pets to shelters, particularly older pets that may have difficulty finding a new home
  • Smoother transition to aged care
  • Increased morale for both staff and residents

How to choose a pet-friendly nursing home in Melbourne

There are several factors to consider when choosing a pet-friendly aged care service provider, including:

  • Policies. A nursing home often allows pets based on certain conditions, such as the number, size, and breed of your animal companions. The majority of pets in residential facilities are dogs and cats, though fish and birds are also allowed
  • They will also make sure that your pet is full vaccinated and non-disruptive to other residents and animals in the nursing home.
  • Space. How much space does the community offer? Though caged animals, such as birds, have no need for open space, other animals, such as dogs and cats, must have room to play and roam.
  • Security. The facility must be secure enough so that your beloved pets will not be able to escape or get lost or trapped.
  • Support. Does the community have a support group for pet owners? You will be expected to take full care of your pet, but the existence of support groups will make caring for your pet less overwhelming and more fulfilling.

Embracia understand the needs of its residents and the important role pets play in their lives. This pet-friendly community offers the highest quality of care and a lifestyle-focused approach in order to create a warm and friendly environment for residents and their pets.

If you would like to find out more about Embracia and their pet friendly philosophy, feel free to contact us today for a chat or a tour of one of our homes.

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