Life review therapy is a technique of reviewing the events of one’s life as preparation for the end of life. It is an effective way of coping with life’s final stages and a means of integration.
In response to a rapidly growing older adult population, new therapeutic techniques are being developed to help improve the quality of life of elders. Life review therapy is still in the theoretical stage – that is, there is not enough scientific evidence to support it as a recommended technique, but therapists and families report using these techniques with positive outcomes.
Life review therapy is a way of talking about and sharing the important events and memories of one’s life. Therapists and caregivers who use these techniques believe they help provide comfort and meaning to both the patient and family. Memories shared may evoke a sense of continuity and connectedness as stories are passed on from generation to generation.
Music, photographs, videos, life storybooks and objects with special meaning may be utilized to trigger memories and the sharing of stories. It is a therapeutic psychosocial communication process, as well as a recreational activity. Some caregivers claim it improves self-esteem and reduces behavioral disturbances in the elderly patient with dementia. Long term memories persist even with patients who are experiencing short term memory difficulties.