Retro Reassurance

An article in The Guardian Newspaper reports that replacing modern technologies with older, retro versions in the homes of elderly patients can help with memory loss by triggering recognition and offering visual cues to the confused. In these exponentially fast times of changing technology, it's easy to be bewildered by the vast array of modern technology on the market.

Vintage Pears soap ad
The article, Retro-decorating: the future for dementia care?, claims that some health care providers have seen positive results from making simple changes in the environments of dementia patients - things like retro advertising posters hung up in the kitchen to remind people of the sorts of things they'll find in the cupboards and using Pears soap because of the evocative smell.

However, while the posters and such are helpful, evidently the best technique is to modify technology around the home. According to a UK director of Dementia services:
"If you provide older examples of these objects, for example an old bakelite phone, someone with dementia might remember how to use it and be able to make a phone call, whereas they may not with a mobile phone, even if they had been using the mobile perfectly well just six months ago."~June Andrews
It all makes sense - people feel more secure with the familiar. As it's short -term memory that dementia patients have difficulty with, while often still retaining information from long ago, the old familiar styles and ways tend to offer reassurance.

The Guardian article can be found here