TA Coalition Webinar: Group Reminiscence for Older Adults with Serious Mental Illness (SMI) by Elder Peers

This resource was selected by SMI Adviser content partners and approved by the SMI Adviser clinical expert team for inclusion in the knowledge base.

Reminiscence therapy is a popular psychosocial intervention in dementia care, anxiety and depression for Older Adults. Recalling life events is seen as a way of placing one’s life in perspective in preparation for death rather than it being a sign of pathology. Some of the functions of reminiscing include maintaining intimacy, reduction of boredom, problem solving and sharing of wisdom.  Elder peers are well suited to facilitate reminiscing by older adults because they can emphasize the positive aspects of their lives. Certified Older Adult Peers (COAPS) are specially trained to work with older adults to support them in the process of behavioral health recovery.  They are trained to engage older adults in discussions of their life stories as a method to build relationships and trust and to build a positive framework of the individual’s life story. COAPS share their own life stories and recovery journeys with their older adult peer to encourage similar sharing by discussing past activities, events, feelings and experiences with one another. COAPS also receive training in positive psychology, which provides a strong conceptual model for reminiscence interventions with older adults.


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