A trip down memory lane with an older loved one is not only beneficial to you, but it’s also great for your loved one. Think about that twinkle in your loved one’s eye or the smile on their face when they talk about a fond memory.
To reminisce is to remember or recall past experiences, while feelings of nostalgia are the feelings we have when we have a fond memory. Together they are powerful for the health and well-being of older adults. Reminiscing and sharing memories and experiences with family can be beneficial to the health and wellness of our senior loved ones.
Preserves Family Memories & History
There’s no better way to learn about your family history, traditions, and accomplishments of family members than discussions with older family members. Rather than using the internet, the next time your middle schooler has a question about a past war, past president, or historical event, have them speak with a grandparent or older family friend. These conversations with older adults are critical for preserving family memories and can help younger generations appreciate and respect seniors.
Improves Mental & Physical Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults aged 50 and older who experience social isolation and loneliness have an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia, depression, and anxiety. Reminiscing can protect against feelings of loneliness and depression. In addition, having productive and meaningful conversations with a senior can improve their mood, decreasing stress and anxiety.
Reminiscing and nostalgia help keep seniors mentally and physically healthy by:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Eliminating boredom
- Lowering heart rates
- Improving communication skills
- Reducing stress
- Enhances Self Worth
Remembering the past and having others listen and take an interest in their experiences is rewarding and enables seniors to feel valued and appreciated. As we age, it’s easy to feel like your thoughts and experiences don’t matter. We can learn so much from older adults; we sometimes forget and take for granted that they’ll always be around to share stories and give advice. Take the time to let them know how much they’re valued and respected.
Strengthens Family Bonds
Think about how much fun it is to meet various family members at a family reunion, wedding, or graduation celebration. Whether you’re hysterically laughing or fondly remembering a deceased loved one, family memories are unique and extraordinary family bonding times.
Ways to Help Seniors Reminisce
Those wonderful feelings of nostalgia can happen from a song, a smell, or a memory. The next time you see your parents or grandparents, spark up feelings of nostalgia by:
- Asking about their parents, grandparents, or siblings
- Looking through old photo albums
- Asking them about their favorite music, movie, or entertainer
- Getting their thoughts about a historical event
- Asking them how they met their spouse
- Finding out what they were like as a teenager
Reminiscing and nostalgia are powerful! Remembering the past helps our seniors feel accomplished and valued! And you might be surprised by what you can learn.