Care Dimensions: Podcast: Telling Our Stories: The Importance of Reminiscing and Life Review

Voices of Care

Podcast: Telling Our Stories: The Importance of Reminiscing and Life Review

Posted on April 30, 2020 by Mia Buscone

In this episode of the Care Dimensions Learning Institute's podcast of Living Forever, Not an Option, Mary Crowe and Lyn Skarmeas discuss the benefits of reminiscing and life review and how it can affect an individual’s perspective and future. Reminiscing and life review is part of a process where memories contribute to a person's evaluation of their life to assess things that went well and those that didn’t. Allowing a person to reflect on their life can bring them back to times of joy, challenges and accomplishments, allowing them an opportunity to process through and rework things.

Mary explains that the difference between reminiscing and a life review is that reminiscing can be a spontaneous process, (a passing thought, memory, daydream), while a formal life review is an organized or more structured way for an individual to reflect on their life. Often times in hospice, professionals do life reviews with people with advanced illness or at end of life to help them organize their thinking or enrich life’s meaning. With the help of a facilitator, they are able to articulate what is important to them. Mary advises that facilitators ease in with simple questions before asking deeper questions about the individual’s life. Mary also notes that not all people are open to life review and we should be respectful of that as well. People derive benefits from being listened to and heard and bringing to light life’s significance and meaning.

Throughout the episode, Mary and Lyn discuss personal and professional experiences that highlight the importance of life reviews and how reminiscing has had an impact on their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. They suggest that we all take the time to listen to those around us when they begin talking about “the good old days,” as those stories can turn into a meaningful memory for you as well. You do not have to be at the end of your life to start reminiscing.

Listen to the podcast (click here)

Learn more about how volunteers engage in life review with their patients.

Watch our Timing is Everything television show that highlights different aspects of hospice care (click here).

About the author:
Mia Buscone is a marketing assistant working with the Care Dimensions Learning Institute.


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Since 1978, Care Dimensions has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As the non-profit leader in advanced illness care, we offer services in more than 95 communities in Eastern Massachusetts.