Jonathan Papworth, founder and director of Person Centred Software, explains how technology is supporting reminiscence therapy for people with dementia
In June 2019, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) updated its quality standard on dementia to include the recommendation that people with dementia should be offered activities that can help promote wellbeing, which includes reminiscence therapy.
New technology like virtual reality can support reminiscence therapy. Virtual reality can ‘virtually’ immerse people in images of familiar surroundings, like their childhood home, taking them back to a time that they remember.
The stimulation of using virtual reality has helped people living with dementia access old memories. Recalling memories helps to calm people and helps care staff to learn more about their life. Talking about memories improves people’s wellbeing and has been linked to reduction in cognitive decline.
Stimulating memories through virtual reality also has the potential to improve social interactions between staff and residents. As reminiscence therapy is so important for improving the quality of life for residents living with dementia, we want to support care homes with this initiative.
We are highlighting the importance of reminiscence therapy through a competition* that encourages care staff to ask residents about their favourite memories. This stimulates residents’ memories, gives staff the opportunity to learn something new about the people they care for, and increases residents’ wellbeing.