MusicTherapy Life Hack #3: My Favorite Prop for Reminiscing with Older Adults

0001-61042479When was the last time you heard a song that sparked a memory? My guess is that it wasn’t that long ago… perhaps even the last song you heard today! Music is one of the easiest ways to trigger memories, which is why it is so useful when reminiscing.

Each week I have the privilege of working with several groups in assisted living facilities around town. Reminiscing is one of the weekly experiences presented in my groups, usually revolving around the current holiday, season or events. Many times I bring objects to the sessions to aid with the discussions. But sometimes, I do not have the object I am looking for, or perhaps I want to provide an authentic example (i.e. an old washing machine or clothing).

This quickly became the answer to that problem…

Empty 4x6 black frame

Empty 4×6 black frame

I found these frames in several sizes at Walmart one day while I was walking around killing time in between sessions. I can’t remember the original price but I’m pretty sure it was around 1-5$ (depending on what size you wanted), so they weren’t expensive. I quickly scooped up several and have gotten a lot of use out of them since then.

Why are they so great? Instead of laminating millions of visuals or worrying about finding all of the objects I need, I now keep a collection of pictures that relate to various topics and just switch out the pictures in the frames depending what the discussion is about. Laminating can only protect a visual for so long, but the frames don’t bend so your pictures stay protected! I also love how easy it is to pop them open, put in a picture and then pop it back shut. Quick and simple for the busy professional.  And finally, my favorite part is their effect. By passing the pictures around the group, participants are socializing with each other, sharing memories and identifying objects within the pictures, which are all great for stimulating cognition. Add a music therapist working songs into the discussion, and you have one great experience! So whether you are a music therapist, activity director, volunteer, friend or family member, I hope maybe this will come in handy to you… may a time for reminiscing arise 🙂

In closing today, here is a taste of my Valentine’s Grab Bag for this week! I can’t wait to see what direction the discussions go!


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2 Responses to MusicTherapy Life Hack #3: My Favorite Prop for Reminiscing with Older Adults

  1. Amanda says:

    I love this idea! I usually put pictures on my Ipad!

    • Leslie says:

      Happy to pass along the tip! I’ve used my iPad before too, but don’t feel comfortable passing it around. This way nothing can break 🙂

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