TED Conversations

Heather White

Life Story Recorder, Family Echoes


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Is reminiscence good for people over the age of 60?

As we get older it seems that our thoughts naturally tend to flow back to past times - the good, the bad and the ugly. It is universally acknowledged that grandparents spend hours telling (and retelling) their grandchildren stories of their youth.

Jane Fonda's TED Talk focuses on this aspect of life as being a normal, natural and necessary process which is highly beneficial for the mental health and well being of older people.

Reminiscence Therapist make a case that allowing older people to reminisce can reduce depression and delay dementia. It may also help to reunify estranged families, since it is only when people move past life's competitive stage that they are able to reflect on past mistakes and be humble enough to accept responsibility for them, and seek forgiveness. Such scenarios are likely to be highly beneficial to younger family members who will experience the unifying power of honesty, humility and forgiveness.

Hospice workers also report that reminiscence can help dying people come to terms with their life and gain a sense of completion - reducing death anxiety.

What are your experiences of older people reminiscing?

In a world with an increasing older population Is Reminiscence Therapy worth investing in?


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  • May 2 2013: How strange that this past week I had already begun re-programming old behaviors in certain situations to gain power that was not there before. Confirmation--in this visit to Ted--offers the fire to continue with confidence. Anna Pat

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