Increasing Recall Without Increasing Distress
This chapter sets out the results from a research programme that has explored the benefits of nostalgia for people who are affected by dementia. First, we replicated the finding from social psychology that nostalgic reminiscence increases levels of self-esteem, social connectedness, and meaning in life for people living with dementia. We then found that by increasing psychological resources, participants with dementia were better able to recall more information about their condition, including material deemed threatening, without at the same time becoming distressed. This suggests that enhancing psychological resources will enable people to manage the distress of their dementia. Additionally, these findings may mean that current practices in Reminiscence Therapy need to be revised such that the focus is on the recall of specific nostalgic memories rather than non-specific ones.
KeywordsReminiscence Nostalgia Distress Dementia Awareness Self Identity
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