The functions and value of reminiscence for older adults in long-term residential care facilities

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For the many older adults living in long-term care facilities, the ability to connect with others, as well as with one’s own personal past, may be of particular value. Reflecting on the past and sharing reminiscences with others serves different psychosocial functions in various settings. This study examined the functions of reminiscence for long-term care residents in the United States (Mage = 86.5) by addressing the self-reported frequency of reminiscence, the counterparties involved, the overall purpose and value of reminiscence, and the relation to residents’ mental health and well-being. Results demonstrated that although some functions of reminiscence were comparable to those found in community-dwelling older adults, others were unique to the long-term care setting. Residents were most likely to reminisce alone and they found the experience enjoyable. They reported engaging in and enjoying reminiscence with family more than with fellow residents, and a subset desired increased opportunities to share memories with healthcare providers. Residents with lower morale and more depressive symptoms were more likely to engage in unhealthy styles of reminiscence. These findings suggest that interventions shaping reminiscence encounters may have positive outcomes for long-term care residents.


Copyright 2017 Taylor & Francis

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Henkel, L. A., Kris, A., Birney, S., & Krauss, K. (2017). The functions and value of reminiscence for older adults in long-term residential care facilities. Memory, 25(3), 425-435. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2016.1182554.



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