Effectiveness of reminiscence therapy in reducing agitation and depression and improving quality of life and cognition in long-term care residents with dementia: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Geriatr Nurs. 2021 Nov-Dec;42(6):1497-1506. doi: 10.1016/j.gerinurse.2021.10.014. Epub 2021 Oct 29.


This paper assesses the effectiveness of reminiscence therapy (RT) in people with mild to moderate dementia in long-term care facilities. A literature search was conducted in CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsychINFO, and Embase from inception to December 2020. Five RCTs with 267 participants were included; two were meta-analysed. Cochrane collaboration's risk of bias tool was used to evaluate the methodological quality of the included RCTs, and the risk of bias across studies was assessed using the GRADE method. The overall quality of evidence was moderate to low. Among the five trials, none measured the efficacy of RT on agitation. Reminiscence therapy was effective in reducing depression and improving autobiographical memory, but its effects were inconsistent. There was a significant improvement in quality of life (QoL) following RT. The meta-analysis showed no statistical significance on the pre-post intervention differences in depression (SMD -0.28, 95%CI -0.91-0.35, p > 0.05) and autobiographical memory scores (SMD 0.57, 95%CI -0.07-1.21, p > 0.05). Reminiscence therapy may have some benefits in reducing depression and improving the QoL and cognition in this population; however, its effectiveness should be tested further.

Keywords: Dementia; Long-term care; Meta-analysis; Reminiscence therapy.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cognition
  • Dementia* / therapy
  • Depression / therapy
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care
  • Quality of Life*