For a long time, nostalgia was considered a disorder. There were even some treatments prescribed for it, especially during the 1th to 19th century. Thankfully, feeling nostalgic is not considered to be a disease, in fact, it may have many benefits which aid in positive and healthy ageing, especially for seniors. According to the American Psychological Association, reminiscence therapy is “the use of life histories – written, oral or both – to improve psychological well-being.” This type of therapy is especially useful for seniors suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, as it helps them feel less agitated and boosts their mood. Given below are some added benefits of how reminiscing can help seniors:
- Improves Quality of Life
Often times humans reminisce about happy memories, and this leaves one feeling brighter and chances are you will be smiling more as you reminisce about those pranks you used to play with your friends while growing up.
- Reduces Symptoms of Depression
As mentioned above, reminiscence therapy is commonly used for people who are struggling with depression and dementia. Reflecting on your life can not only make you feel good about yourself, raise your self-esteem, but it an also distract you from worrying about underlying medical conditions or other stressful things.
- Resolution of Unresolved Conflicts
Often times people experience conflicts when they were younger, and reviewing those experiences with a more mature mindset can be a way that can help people find closure, and even mend previously broken relationships.
- Can Improve Physical Health
Simple activities like recalling past experiences can help have a positive effect on one’s body. A study has shown that seniors who actively reminisced showed lowered blood pressure and heart rates.
- Improves Communication Skills
Thinking about the past can reignite certain emotions which helps in improving communication skills. Research has shown that remembering certain events from the past can help seniors from new pathways in their brain, which aids in communication skills.
Now there are numerous ways one can reminisce about events from their pasts, with one of the most common method being flipping through old photographic albums. Seeing familiar faces and places can help prompt memories. Playing your favorite music is also a good way to reminisce about the good old times, you may even try journaling the thoughts that come into your mind when you reminisce about the past. So next time you find yourself thinking longingly about the days gone by, encourage those thoughts, think freely about them, they will help you age in a healthy manner!