Effectiveness of structured group reminiscence therapy in decreasing the feelings of loneliness, depressive symptoms and anxiety among inmates of a residential home for the elderly in Chittoor district

Jayanthi Tarugu, R. Pavithra, Sivagami Vinothchandar, Aniruddha Basu, Sirshendu Chaudhuri, K. R. John


Background: The proportion of the elderly population is increasing in low and middle-income countries. Apart from systemic illnesses, elderly people face mental illnesses. Effect of group reminiscence therapy in reducing some of the mental health aspects showing a promising effect but the evidence is lacking in Indian settings. The present study aimed to determine the effect of reminiscence therapy in decreasing the level of loneliness, depressive symptoms, and anxiety among the elderly population at an institutional level.

Methods: In this quasi-experimental study, residents of an old age home were evaluated for loneliness, depressive symptoms and anxiety through revised UCLA, geriatric depression scale, and Geriatric Anxiety Scale respectively. Group reminiscence therapy was applied to them and post-intervention assessment was done by the same scales.

Results: Significant reduction of anxiety score [1.33 (0.03, 2.64)] was noticed in anxiety. Depressive symptoms showed a mean reduction in score [0.59 (-0.41, 1.6)] but statistically not significant. When graded into severity, all three outcomes showed improvement from higher severity grade to lower grade in post-intervention assessment. The intervention resulted in an improvement of 66.7% in depressive symptoms, 33.3% in anxiety and 30.8% in loneliness.

Conclusions: The study found reminiscence therapy could be encouraging in resource-poor Indian settings. We recommend for further exploration of the long-term effects of this program, its feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and validation of the content for large-scale implementation.



Reminiscence therapy, Elderly, Loneliness, Depressive symptoms, Anxiety

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