Group reminiscence therapy for cognitive and affective function of demented elderly in Taiwan

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2007 Dec;22(12):1235-40. doi: 10.1002/gps.1821.


Background: Elderly people with cognitive impairments are often associated with depressed mood and are heavy consumers in both medical services and need in caregivers. Reminiscence is believed to be effective in improving the cognition and mood of demented people.

Objectives: This study tested the hypothesis that structured group reminiscence therapy can prevent the progression of cognitive impairment and enhance affective function in the cognitively impaired elderly.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial (RCT) based on a two group pre- and post-test design was used. The experimental subjects underwent eight group sessions, one session per week. The measurements were performed using Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Geriatric Depression Scale short form (GDS-SF), and Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia (CSDD).

Results: The sample consisted of 102 subjects, with 51 in the experimental group and 51 in the control group. Results demonstrated that the intervention significantly affected cognitive function and affective function as measured by MMSE and CSDD (p = 0.015 and 0.026), indicating that the cognitive function of the experimental subjects increased and their depressive symptoms diminished following intervention.

Conclusion: Participation in reminiscence activities can be a positive and valuable experience for demented older persons. Consequently, the development of a structured care program for elderly persons with cognitive impairment and the need for long-term care is essential. Thus, health providers in long-term care facilities should be trained in reminiscence group therapy, and to be able to deliver such a program to the targeted group.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Cognition Disorders / therapy*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Dementia / therapy*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Depression / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Taiwan / epidemiology