Do you like to talk about the good old days? Do you take time to listen when elders do it? It turns out that speaking about important events in the past can go a long way to improve wellbeing for people in nursing homes. It’s called reminiscence therapy and an Australian gerontologist compared it to other types of interventions for people in long term care. She found that it was more effective than social activities, indoor gardening, or playing games – as a matter of fact – reminiscence therapy was the only thing that addressed both feelings of isolation and depression, according to the work in the Journal Quality of Life Research.
The researchers believe the problem is not the lack of opportunity to interact with others in long-term care, but the quality of the interactions. They think reminiscing with others, can lead to the kind of meaningful conversations that older people crave. And without that meaningful contact, feelings of loneliness and depression can double the mortality risk in older people.