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HenderCare explores the joys of nostalgia

Isolation and loneliness felt by older people is increasingly common, however the power of reminiscing and nostalgia has been proven to improve the mood and wellbeing of the elderly, particularly those with dementia.

Bob Byrne chatting with Suzette for the HenderCare memory video series. [Source: HenderCare].
Bob Byrne chatting with Suzette for the HenderCare memory video series. [Source: HenderCare].

Aged and disability service provider HenderCare is spruiking the benefits of nostalgia for the elderly through their memory video series where clients share memories of “the good old days” with HenderCare ambassador, Bob Byrne.

Mr Byrne, a well-known former radio personality and author, has been hosting the video series so far and is enjoying every minute of it.

With extensive experience dappling in nostalgia, including multiple nostalgia books under his belt and successful Facebook pages Adelaide Remember When and Australia Remember When, Mr Byrne was the right person to take up the campaign.

He says he receives a lot of feedback from people in the aged care industry that have seen positive effects through their patients engaging with nostalgia.

“I get a lot of emails from people who work in the industry as carers, even in more professional positions like therapists, who say they have purchased my books and they absolutely loved them, but also they used those books in therapy sessions.

“They can show someone a photograph of an old building or a doll, that will prompt a conversation. Even for people who suffer from dementia, I am not a therapist nor am I qualified in anyway, but it seems to draw out memories.

“I have been told that some people who have lost the will to speak, discuss and talk about things, they become quite animated and can join in the conversation when they see some old photographs.”

Mr Byrne says the HenderCare memory video series has been a joy for himself to be involved in since he is able to have interesting conversations with people who are very excited to talk about their past.

So far, Mr Byrne had discussed music, old authors and milk delivery with different clients and learnt a lot about Australia’s history.

Nostalgia and reminiscence has been proven to have a positive influence on the elderly.

A study last year by The University of Queensland (UQ) indicated as such, with research into the benefits of a 24/7 nostalgia radio program, Silver Memories, showing a significant improvement in dementia patients.

Dementia patients in Australian aged care facilities listened for 12 months straight to the radio program, which uses Reminiscence Therapy, as a regular activity,

Findings from the study showed that residents with dementia who listened to the program had a better quality of life and decrease in depression and aggressive and verbally agitated behaviour.

HenderCare is using their influence and experience with older Australians to deliver better quality of life to their clients through their heartwarming and joyful memory video series.

Ms Amanda Blight, HenderCare Chief Executive, says she is very proud of the memory videos and was glad Mr Byrne was involved with the project.

She has seen the positive impact his Facebook page, Australia Remember When, has had on his online community.

“At HenderCare we believe remembering stories from our past helps create shared identities and improve emotional wellbeing. We thought it would be wonderful to have Bob speak with some of our service recipients about their memories, in the hope it would resonate and provide a sense of belonging and community to others,” says Ms Blight.

“Since the videos have gone up online, we’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of positive

feedback we’ve received, and we’re thrilled that in some small way, HenderCare has helped create a better sense of community for our older Australians.”

HenderCare memory series - Suzette Remembers When...

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