Gerontological nurses are currently using life review and reminiscence with clients The terms are used interchangeably in practice and in the literature as though both were the same modality Much confusion has resulted from lack of definitions of the modalities Therefore, potentially effective nursing interventions are neither clearly understood nor correctly operationalized This paper presents an analysis of each modality in an effort to clarify differences and further elucidate the current usage of them as concepts in nursing practice


The purpose of this paper was to shed further light on the two concepts — reminiscence and life review It was slanted towards nursing interventions, although, as stated in the beginning of the paper, both authors are aware of the wide application of both modalities among a variety of disciplines However, the authors believe that each requires concept analysis so that ‘those who use it in practice will be able to clearly understand what is meant by the concepts’ (Walker & Avant 1988) Wilson (1980) wrote the classic book on concept analysis, and stated

Conceptual analysis gives framework and purposiveness to thinking that might otherwise meander indefinitely and purposelessly among the vast marshes of intellect and culture

To increase our understanding further, the authors believe these two modalities need both qualitative and quantitative research by nurses Nurses are in ideal positions to improve the quality of life for elderly people and promote health by understanding both concepts in depth, and knowing which one is more appropriate to implement with the elderly client(s)