When using Reminiscence Therapy with residents, the time spent together should be light and fun and allow the resident to talk about memories that come to mind. It’s important to create an environment that will allow the resident to feel comfortable, relaxed, and safe. When designing a memory care area, furniture needs to be healthcare grade quality and use the proper construction, fabric, and foam density. Wall colors should be calming and the noise level should be low. Sufficient lighting is critical, especially in eliminating dark corners and ensuring that flooring does not have a glare.
The finished space should include objects that enable the resident to stay active during the day, if desired. The activities below are examples of objects that can be placed in the space to promote resident activity.
Life stations promote the carrying out of tasks that the resident has participated in in the past. Some examples include gardening, laundry, and workshop areas. All accessories provided at these life stations should be appropriate for a long-term care facility.
Directional Sensory Tactile Art can provide color and texture recognition that helps stimulate the senses. Tactile artwork is a great addition to corridors to allow residents to receive sensory stimulation while walking. Framed artwork, preferably photography, featuring familiar landscaping or local monuments and scenes can help trigger memories.
It’s comforting for the resident to be aware of the day and time. A bulletin board can display the date, a clock, and a schedule of the day’s activities to remind the resident of this information. You may want to consider using signage that not only names the area, but also features a photo of it to give residents a visual reminder of the area.
Place items and photos that residents are familiar with in boxes to serve as an additional tool for wayfinding and reminiscing.