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Don't know how to help grandparents with dementia? Ask them about the olden days

It’s the little things.

Image: Shutterstock

IF YOU KNOW someone with dementia, one of the hardest things as a relative or friend is feeling helpless as their memory gradually erodes.

However scientists at NUI Galway have found an effective way to improve life for dementia sufferers: talking about the olden days.

The researchers found that reminiscing about past memories and experiences, particularly with photos, music and household items, has a positive effect on quality of life.

This is because reminiscence therapy, as it is known, focuses on early memories, which often remain intact for people with dementia.

Professor Eamon O’Shea, who was involved in the research, said that reminiscing could highlight what a person’s memory has preserved, rather than focusing on cognitive impairment.

The trial looked at more than 300 people with dementia in nursing homes over the period of three years.

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Professor O’Shea said that other therapies such as art could also help people with dementia.

It has been estimated that almost 50,000 people in Ireland have dementia, with some 4,000 new cases counted every year.

Professor O’Shea  said reminiscing about the past could be good for both the person with dementia and the person talking with them.

Read: Are you over 50? Using the internet could help you fight off dementia > 

Read: A little cynicism may be healthy, but too much can lead to dementia > 

About the author:

Christine Bohan

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