Effects of SolCos model-based individual reminiscence on older adults with mild to moderate dementia due to Alzheimer disease: a pilot study

Peter Van Bogaert, Regine Van Grinsven, Debbie Tolson, Kristien Wouters, Sebastiaan Engelborghs, Stefan Van der Mussele

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55 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To examine effects of individual thematically-based reminiscence sessions based on the SolCos model for older adults with dementia because of Alzheimer disease (AD) as a pilot study.

BACKGROUND: Reminiscence activities are popular within nursing homes and generally considered to be enjoyable and helpful, however, there is a paucity of robust data demonstrating therapeutic impact. Criticisms of existing reminiscence studies include the failure to explicate the reminiscence protocol and to standardize delivery and choice of outcome measures.

METHODS: In this study, 82 older adults with probable AD were recruited from psychiatric day care, inpatient, and long term care facilities. Of the study group, 41 participants were randomly selected for individual reminiscence sessions during 4 weeks performed by 1 facilitator. A control group of 41 older adults were randomly involved and had no planned reminiscence treatment of any kind in the study period. All study participants were tested pre- and postintervention period with validated assessment scales to evaluate cognition and behavior. Analyses were based on delta scores, the differences between assessment scales pre- and postintervention scores, compared between the intervention and the control group.

RESULTS: A structured reminiscence protocol was developed with user involvement, and intervention group participants received 6-8 reminiscence sessions (average 7.4). The primary outcomes of Mini- Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-30) delta scores of the intervention group were significantly better than those of the control group. Participants of the intervention group with both mild and moderate AD had significantly better GDS-30 delta scores compared with the control group. Significantly better MMSE delta scores were found only in the intervention sub-group with moderate AD. Logistic regression analyses with all study participants showed an impact of reminiscence sessions on depressive symptoms measured with GDS-30.

CONCLUSIONS: The pilot study results showed positive effects associated with individual thematically-based reminiscence on well-being such as depressive symptoms and cognition of participants. This is an encouraging finding after a relatively short period. Further study is necessary to confirm these results, determine sustainability and optimal delivery methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528.e9-13
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease
  • Depression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pilot Projects
  • Severity of Illness Index


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