Butterflies can be a source of joy and happiness for many people. Seeing one often brings back memories of warm summer days playing in the backyard as a child and the fascination of watching butterflies floating from flower to flower on brightly colored wings. The butterfly's ability to invoke these memories makes them a great tool for use in reminiscence therapy in seniors with Alzheimer's Disease and dementia.
Reminiscence therapy is a form of intervention therapy that uses a person's senses to help them remember events or important people from their past. Familiar objects, sights, scents, or tastes are a great way to jog the memory and often help older adults recall childhood memories of happy times spent with family and friends.
This therapy has been found to increase self-esteem, lower stress levels, improve cognitive function, and boost the mood of patients with Alzheimer's Disease and dementia. Sharing stories from your past can be a comforting exercise. Nothing makes a person happier than talking about the good times in their life. The simple act of reminiscing also stimulates the brain, which can help to slow down the onset of Alzheimer's and dementia symptoms and improve recall during the later stages of these diseases. There are many ways to trigger these important memories. Still, nothing brings back the wonder of being a child quite like a butterfly.
At Sarasota Butterflies, we provide butterfly encounters and classes to the senior population at assisted living and memory care residences. We have witnessed first-hand the joy interacting with butterflies can bring. Participants hold the butterflies in small enclosures so they can spend time looking at them up close without fear of them flying away or getting hurt. Once they are done observing the butterflies, we release the butterflies into nature. Once released, the butterflies will often sit on the participant's finger for a little while before fluttering away.
We have found that taking part in one of our butterfly encounters lifts the participants' spirits and invokes happy memories. You can see the joy on their faces as they interact with the butterflies and recollect the past. We also take photos so they can look back on their butterfly encounter and reminisce again.
If you would like to schedule a class or butterfly encounter at a senior living facility, please contact us.