The National Institute for Dementia Education (NIDE) announced the results from the “Cognitive Benefits of Photo Reminiscence Therapy for Dementia Patients” research study that concluded that Photo Reminiscence Therapy can improve the quality of life for those living with dementia or related forms of memory impairment.
Conducted by a coalition of organizations, including the National Institute for Dementia Education, the CERTUS Institute, Vivid-Pix, Tellegacy, and achi, the group studied the healing power of photos and concluded that Photo Reminiscence Therapy (pRT) can minimize social isolation and improve medication compliance and general cognitive performance. The complete pRT study is available at: https://nid.education/nide-publications.html. Videos about the study are available at: https://www.vivid-pix.com/reminisce/.
Over 8.8 Million Americans Currently Have Dementia
Over 8.8 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. This number is expected to triple within the next few decades. In addition, Alzheimer’s disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, with one in three seniors dying from Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Experts have been using Reminiscence Therapy for years to help Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and depression. As reported by Shirley Wang, NPR, “Researchers find that dementia patients who engage in activities, such as gathering photographs and talking about family, see improvements in their quality of life and are less agitated.” Researchgate also reported that Reminiscence Therapy is an effective way to increase self-esteem and decrease behavioral disturbances in those with dementia, and their research proved that photography was the best therapy.
“We concluded that the power of engaging with personal photos, matched with a high-quality care curriculum and living environment, may improve the quality of life for those with dementia by stimulating the brain and fostering neurogenesis as well as neuroplasticity. This may improve quality of life and, in some cases, temporarily diminish dementia symptoms during therapeutic sessions,” said Joshua Freitas, PhD(c), M.Ed., BC-DEd, Chief Research Officer, CERTUS Institute.
How pRT Research was Conducted
The Photo Reminiscence Therapy research study identified photos that foster reminiscence and looked at the behavioral and somatic responses of older adults in senior living care through pRT. The study was conducted in 2021 in three five-week phases comparing the influences of viewing different types of photos at four CERTUS Senior Living communities in Florida. CERTUS oversaw the care and clinical assessment, with participants ranging in age from 67 to 92 years, who were living with a diagnosis of dementia or memory impairment and had diverse work backgrounds, from engineers to stay-at-home mothers. The study employed the Tellegacy/achi program, which uses social prompts that foster human connection through focused questions as part of an evidence-based curriculum.
The Effects of Different Photos
The pilot group studied the effects between viewing generic stock photos, personal photos, or no photos. Photo types included family, self-portraits, pets, landmarks, newspaper articles, nature, and abstract themes. Aged or faded personal photos were enhanced using Vivid-Pix technology to digitally enhance and restore images, improving color, contrast, clarity, and overall quality. This allowed photos to be more recognizable and relatable. Vivid-Pix’s knowledge of how people emotionally connect and interact with photos was also essential to the research. “This study highlights the emotional, mental, and physical health benefits that looking at photos provide to the young and young-at-heart alike,” said Rick Voight, CEO of Vivid-Pix.
The pilot study was led by Joshua Freitas, Chief Research Officer at CERTUS and an award-winning expert, researcher, and author on memory care, Dr. Jeremy Holloway, Founder, Tellegacy and Professor and Director of Geriatrics Education at University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Rick Voight, CEO, Vivid-Pix, photo researcher, and Hayley Studer, CPA, FHFMA, Founder of achi, a holistic care management company.
“Our findings were robust, insightful, and beneficial for participants,” said Dr. Jeremy Holloway, Tellegacy. “Through engagement with personal photos, pRT can help patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and provide healthy neurological and action-based benefits to those with dementia, especially in supportive care environments.”
“As a percentage of population, individuals over age 65 will double by 2050. How we care for our aging is of social and economic importance,” describes Hayley Studer, achi. “As a bright light shines on how the social determinants of health are affecting communities, many want to take action to create healthier communities and reduce overall healthcare costs.”
To view the full pRT pilot study, see: https://nid.education/nide-publications.html
To view videos about research, see: https://www.vivid-pix.com/reminisce/
About The National Institute for Dementia Education (NIDE)
NIDE works to enhance the quality of life for those living with dementia through research, case studies, education, collaboration, and advocacy. NIDE works with senior care facilities, memory care units, hospitals, and universities studying memory disorders to create unique certificate programs that improve the way we care for seniors who have dementia. The NIDE Standards of Excellence Council offers free dementia training and certification for participating students and caregivers. For more information, see: https://www.nid.education/.