Christmas will mean different things to each of us and arouses many different emotions, but common to us all will be its links with the past. It’s a time for remembering. Those who spend time with older people may encourage them to share memories of Christmas, prompted perhaps by photos, a favourite food or by decorations brought out each year.
Doing this kind of thing can be part of reminiscence therapy, a popular strategy in caring for people with dementia. But do we have evidence that it works? The review team who did a Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews of research in health care and health policy. Each review addresses a clearly formulated question; for example: Can antibiotics help in alleviating the symptoms of a sore throat? All the existing research on a topic that meets certain criteria is searched for and collated, and then assessed using stringent guidelines, to establish whether or not there is conclusive evidence about a specific treatment. on this found that good evidence is lacking and they highlighted the need for more and better designed trials. As things stand, we don’t know whether it works, though the little evidence there is suggests there may be benefits and no harmful effects were reported. Advent is, of course, a time of anticipation, and happily we can anticipate an update of this review in 2015.
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Woods B, Spector AE, Jones CA, Orrell M, Davies SP. Reminiscence therapy for dementia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2005, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD001120. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001120.pub2 – See more at: http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD001120/DEMENTIA_inconclusive-evidence-of-the-efficacy-of-reminiscence-therapy-for-dementia#sthash.Tf5JAFvy.dpuf