Difference between life review and remembering

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difference between life review and remembering

Remembering the Music, Forgetting the Words: Travels with Mom in the Land of Dementia by Kate Whouley

From the author of the much-loved memoir Cottage for Sale, Must Be Moved comes an engaging and inspiring account of a daughter who must face her mother’s premature decline.

In Remembering the Music, Forgetting the Words, Kate Whouley strips away the romantic veneer of mother-daughter love to bare the toothed and tough reality of caring for a parent who is slowly losing her mind. Yet, this is not a dark or dour look at the demon of Alzheimer’s. Whouley shares the trying, the tender, and the sometimes hilarious moments in meeting the challenge also known as Mom.

As her mother, Anne, falls into forgetting, Kate remembers for her. In Anne we meet a strong-minded, accidental feminist with a weakness for unreliable men. The first woman to apply for—and win—a department-head position in her school system, Anne was an innovative educator who poured her passion into her work. House-proud too, she made certain her Hummel figurines were dusted and arranged just so. But as her memory falters, so does her housekeeping. Surrounded by stacks of dirty dishes, piles of laundry, and months of unopened mail, Anne needs Kate’s help—but she doesn’t want to relinquish her hard-won independence any more than she wants to give up smoking.

Time and time again, Kate must balance Anne’s often nonsensical demands with what she believes are the best decisions for her mother’s comfort and safety. This is familiar territory for anyone who has had to help a loved one in decline, but Kate finds new and different ways to approach her mother and her forgetting. Shuddering under the weight of accumulating bills and her mother’s frustrating, circular arguments, Kate realizes she must push past difficult family history to find compassion, empathy, and good humor.

When the memories, the names, and then the words begin to fade, it is the music that matters most to Kate’s mother. Holding hands after a concert, a flute case slung over Kate’s shoulder, and a shared joke between them, their relationship is healed—even in the face of a dreaded and deadly diagnosis. “Memory,” Kate Whouley writes, “is overrated.”
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Published 18.04.2019

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In life reviews, participants hold the prism of their lives into the light of reflection. The process is often a spiritual one. They look at their past with fresh eyes from a different angle.
Kate Whouley

Reminiscence and life review: therapeutic interventions for older people.

In the s, psychiatrist Dr. Robert Butler theorized that having an older adult think back on their life could be therapeutic. Mental health experts consider Dr. Life review therapy involves adults referring to their past to achieve a sense of peace or empowerment about their lives. This type of therapy can help put life in perspective and even reveal important memories about friends and loved ones. Therapists center life review therapy around life themes or by looking back on certain time periods. These include childhood, parenthood, becoming a grandparent, or working years.

I drank away the years I could have spent with my kids, drove away those who loved me, and have been generally unsuccessful in every respect. These words peppered the first conversation I had with Ms. I was green—new to social work and without any idea of how to respond—so I listened. Though it was a painful process, we spent the next few months examining her past. The evolution of her spirit was palpable. What was once an embittered shell of a woman became a proud resident of earth for the last few days she spent on it.

Forgot password? Don't have an account? Reminiscence and life review are significant natural coping mechanisms, and, as treatment modalities, both can help older adults find meaning through reflection on their life experiences. The appeal of reminiscence and life review for geriatric social workers and other mental health professionals, is that the interventions are non-judgmental, non-stigmatizing, and easy to provide to older adults. This chapter is divided into four sections. The first section addresses the theoretical background of reminiscence and life review. The second examines the efficacy of life review and reminiscence interventions for different target groups.

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Life review is a progressive return to consciousness of memories and unresolved past conflicts for reevaluation and resolution. It is a normal, developmental task of the later years, a private process that differs with each individual. This evaluative process is believed to occur universally in all persons in the final years of their lives, although they may not be totally aware of it and may in part defend themselves against realizing its presence. In late life, people have a particularly vivid imagination and memory for the past. Early life events are remembered with sudden and remarkable clarity, and people often experience a renewed ability to free-associate. A life review can provide new insights that result in the resolution of old issues, reconciliation with estranged loved ones, atonement for past mistakes, and integration of the past with the present. Life review can culminate in serenity and acceptance of the life one has lived.

4 thoughts on “Remembering the Music, Forgetting the Words: Travels with Mom in the Land of Dementia by Kate Whouley

  1. Because of the confusion regarding the interventions, this paper explains the differences between reminiscence and life review, and offers protocols to improve.

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