Aging and Wellness Series
Lesson Four: Remembering ACT Step Two
There is a growing number of therapeutic practices that use autobiographical methods: Guided Autobiography (pioneered by James Birren), Dignity Therapy (pioneered by Harvey Chochinov), Memory Banking ( pioneered by Faika Zanjani) and Reminiscence Therapy (pioneered by Robert Butler), to name a few. All these methods use celebrating and coming to peace with one’s history as a tool for increasing emotional well-being and a positive view of the future. How have you seen hope, or lack of hope, impact older adults? How does a sense of hope manifest in older adults compared to younger individuals?
Life review includes acknowledging “loss, guilt, conflict or defeat,” as well as other potentially negative experiences. Describe a time you or another individual has gained insights from painful events. How can you, as a caregiver or part of a social circle, support someone addressing the difficult parts of life review? How do you process memories of “loss, guilt, conflict or defeat” when you examine your own life?
Both Potlatch rituals and Life Review methods incorporate an individual’s family and social circle as part of creating a legacy. As a care provider or as a family member, what practices have you seen that are effective in including family as part of the caregiving process? What behaviors or methods of communication tend to push family away? How might including family as the ‘unit of care’ create an environment that encourages Eldering over simply aging?
Research has demonstrated the efficacy of life review therapies, such as Dignity Therapy. What are the roadblocks to incorporating life review therapies into your caregiving practice? How can these practices be encouraged in our current health care system? In what ways can small peer groups utilize the life review process in caregiving? How can this approach be extended to family and the community at large?
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