Reminiscence therapy for dementia

Reminiscence therapy for dementia
2 min read

Reminiscence therapy is a form of non pharmacological therapy that aims to trigger past memories by keeping the brain stimulated. Stimulation can be generated through the use of looking at photos, videos, listening to music, dancing, singing, working on a puzzle… the list goes on.

Reminiscence therapy was first discovered in the 1960’s by Dr. Robert Butler. It was thought before that “dwelling” in the past was a sign of senility; however research has proven that it is a very effective and natural therapeutic method which is used by thousands.

How does it work for those living with dementia?

The method of adding photos, music and locations is part of reminiscence therapy. However in order to trigger memories and thus carry out reminiscence therapy, the photos or music or locations must be relevant and personal to the person with dementia. It could be looking at a photo of them as a child or listening to their favourite song from 1960’s that stimulates the brain; this in turn reminds the person of their once associated thoughts and memories with that photo or song. It helps people with dementia as it is vital for them to keep their brain stimulated and active in order to ensure their brain stays healthy. In doing so, they will feel more encouraged communicating and interacting with others, either about present or previous moments which will be linked to their memories.

It boosts their self-esteem and provides them with a sense of fulfilment and comfort as they look back on their lives with positive thoughts. Unfortunately, dementia can often be linked with depression; therefore using reminiscence therapy allows someone with dementia to enjoy a conversation about their childhood, wedding day and other fond memories which have been triggered.

Words can’t explain enough how important it is to listen to people, especially people with dementia. Asking questions or showing them pictures of the past takes nothing from us, but gives a lot to them.

myPlayLife: Reminiscence Therapy App

Linking photos with feelings and melodies with memories…

Co-developed with LWDP caring concepts and the NHS Innovation Agency, myPlayLife is a music and reminiscent app that can be used by elderly people with a ‘Lite’ mode for dementia (the main user/patient), contributors (family and friends of the main user) as well as carers. It aims to connect families and keep memories alive. Its purpose is to aid people with both short-term and long-term memory loss, primarily targeting people with dementia. It uses a technique called reminiscence therapy to stimulate the brain in order to trigger past memories and keeping hold of them, as well as new ones too.

Memories can be filtered on the device through the use of keywords, moods, connected users and locations. Memories can then be stored and added to the user’s personalised timeline which is accessible to all of the other connected users (contributors). This allows the main user to remember and relive their most cherished memories using photos, videos, audio content and locations captured. The app also allows the contributors to add in their relationship status to the main user (for example, friend, husband, granddaughter) and they can then quickly communicate between each other using notes; whether it be simply asking the main user how their day was, or getting in touch with the carer swiftly – all through a dedicated private network.

This article was written by myPlayLife.

myPlayLife is a FREE to download app for everyone to enjoy and connect. For more information please visit