A Life Reminder video can increase the quality of life for your loved one
What is a Life Reminder Video?
A life reminder video can brighten mood and enhance recollection. Studies on memory call this “Reminiscence Therapy.” Simply put, it starts with the strengths of a person’s memory and builds from there. Many people with failing memory have stronger long-term memory – they remember 30 years ago better than they do 30 days ago. And so, by honoring and enhancing their strongest memories and thereby brightening mood, a bridge can be built that gradually strengthens more recent memories.
Reminiscence therapy studies have shown that being exposed to familiar music, photo albums, favorite objects and other memorabilia can help preserve and strengthen existing memory – and that can lead to an increased ability to “go forward” and recall more recent life events.
(See article: “Reminiscence therapy”)
(See article: “Memories are made of this: Reminiscence activities for person-centred care”)
(See section on Techniques for coping with memory loss in article “Coping with memory loss”)
(See article “Scheme for people with dementia helps to trigger memories”)
A Life Reminder video combines these approaches, creating an overview of your loved one’s life history, with an emphasis on pleasant memories and experiences. It is important that each of these areas are blended with as much audio-visual stimulus as possible – especially music – as well as family movies, photographs and newspaper clippings.
(See article: “Music Therapy For Dementia: Awakening Memories in Alzheimer’s Patients)
(See article: “Help Spread the Music and Give New Life to Someone You Love”)
Even in advanced cases of dementia, studies have shown that reminiscence therapy can often provide a partial increase in recollection and a
brightening of mood
Subject areas could include:
- Where they were born, parents, siblings
- Where they moved, where they went to school
- Favorite family members and friends
- Treasured objects, favorite places visited
- Life experiences and accomplishments
Also, brief excerpts from favorite or popular:
- Radio programs
- Bands and songs
- TV shows
- News events
Such a life reminder video based on reminiscence therapy would conclude with messages of encouragement and appreciation from family members and friends.
Your loved one can be further engaged in their Life Reminder video when it includes thoughts from friends and family,
offering their gratitude and support
The Crucial Aspect of Brightening Mood
When your loved one is cheered up it gives them a much stronger ability to take interest in their lives and tends to strengthen memory
In all of us, depression tends to create a sort of “recent memory numbness,” where a person simply does not want to remember or be exposed to more recent events that may be stressful or confusing, and so the mind tends to gravitate to memories of older, less immediate experiences – memories that are emotionally safer for them.
One of the benefits of a Life Reminder video is that the subject matter is chosen to cheer up your loved one, to take them to parts of their life of which they have fonder associations. And when a person’s mood brightens, it gives them more emotional energy to be willing to deal with and remember aspects of their more current lives. In a sense, brightening mood by beginning with a strengthening of older memories gives them a more secure place from which to deal with aspects of their more recent life.
(See section on Depression in article “Memory Loss and Dementia”)
How to share a Life Reminder video with your loved one
A simple push of a button and your Life Reminder video will play automatically in these living photo frames – they look just like a framed photograph, and then they come to life!
For some, watching a Life Reminder video might be an assisted activity or part of a more extensive therapy session
There are lots of options for sharing a Life Reminder video for your loved one. It may be that the video will need to be shown to them by a caretaker or as part of a more extensive therapy session. For those who are more adept at dealing with their environment, a great option is a living photo frame – it looks just like a framed photo, and with a simple push of a button the Life Reminder video plays – no complex controls or confusing settings. And of course, for those who can operate a computer, the Life Reminder video can be watched via a private YouTube link.
Your loved one may be able to watch their Life Reminder video on a computer or notebook
Life Reminder Video Dos and Don’ts
Keep the video short – about ten minutes. Remember, you can always create more than one video for your loved one. You can begin by creating a more general video, and then if it seems helpful, you can add videos that focus more specifically on such things as their professional accomplishments, travels or friends and family members.
Urge your loved one to watch the video if they seem resistant or unenthusiastic. Sometimes our desire to bring something positive into our loved one’s life may cause us to misinterpret how beneficial it is for them.
Have someone involved who is familiar as possible with their life history. In creating a Life Reminder video, we need to be guided by family and friends who have as much knowledge as possible about their life history. Photo albums, journals, letters and newspaper articles can help create the best Life Reminder video.
Life Reminder videos are most effective when we know more about your loved one’s history. It is often helpful to review a photo album and take notes to create the best video
“Lobby” your loved one to remember something or someone in a way that is different than they do. For example, even if Aunt Mildred was a kind loving helpful person in your loved one’s life, if they didn’t like her, don’t try to get them to change their attitude about Aunt Mildred.
Have someone watch the Life Reminder video with them and carefully gauge their reaction. It could be that something has inadvertently been included in the video that is not as pleasant for them to be reminded of as was assumed. If possible, have a conversation with them about how they feel about the video and if they have an interest in seeing it again.
It is important to have someone who knows your loved one watch their Life Reminder video with them at first, and carefully note their reactions so we can make any adjustments that are appropriate
Think of a Life Reminder video as a documentary or a history lesson. For example, if your loved one wants to remember aspects of their service in WWII, focus on their patriotism, friends they made and promotions and honors. You do not need to include the details of the war itself.
Adjust the video if necessary. We will gladly make minor changes for no charge or more extensive changes at a reduced cost. If there is some aspect of the video that your loved one doesn’t seem to appreciate, then it should definitely be edited or removed.
A Life Reminder Video is Not a Magic Cure
Failing memory can have many different causes. It is absolutely critical to have an accurate diagnosis so the most effective treatments can be used to help your loved one
An accurate diagnosis of failing memory is crucial. Sometimes it has a fairly benign cause, and can be caused by an imbalance in body or brain chemistry (such as an underactive thyroid) that can be successfully treated by dietary supplements or a change in medications.
(See article: “Memory Loss and Dementia”)
These approaches should not be overlooked and thoroughly investigated. However, more serious conditions such as advanced Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of progressive dementia can be more difficult to recover from and a Life Reminder video is not going to be a magic cure. However, even for a loved one with one of these more serious diagnoses, a Life Reminder video can certainly improve quality of life by brightening mood and strengthening existing memory.
“Memories are made of this: Reminiscence activities for person-centred care”
“Coping with memory loss”
“Scheme for people with dementia helps to trigger memories”
“Music Therapy For Dementia: Awakening Memories in Alzheimer’s Patients”
“Memory Loss and Dementia”
“Help Spread the Music and Give New Life to Someone You Love”