ALZHEIMER’S AND EXPERIENCE NATURE: testimonial by Maria Rita Di Gioia

“I video riescono quasi sempre a fermare la tendenza di alcuni residenti a vagare senza meta. Nei suoni e nelle immagini dei video riescono a “sentire” qualcosa che li attrae e li rassicura."

Dr. Maria Rita Di Gioia, Psychotherapist LTC Vannetti, Rovereto (TN), Italy.

“Videos almost always manage to stop the tendency of some residents to wander aimlessly. In the sounds and images, they manage to ‘feel’ something that attracts and reassures them. A place where they can stop and perhaps find some peace. Some of them doze off and rest peacefully.

Even after some activities, a moment of “decompression” with the Experience Nature videos was offered, always with excellent results.”

“After lunch, Anna, a lady who is always very nervous, cries almost all day long, requires the continuous presence of the caregivers, calls her mother, screams, doesn’t sleep at night…, she was much more restless than usual. I decide to put on the video with the lavender flowers and take her to the room.

Anna enters, sits down, I turn up the volume so that the birdsong is louder than her wails. She, attracted by the singing, occasionally lifts her head and stares at the lavender images. Within 3 minutes not more, Anna slowly stopped crying, her face relaxed, her mood completely changed from distressed to carefree. She gets up and, together with the volunteer psychologist, goes around the nucleus, serenely greeting every person they meet! She was quiet for about an hour and a half.

I have been using the videos so therapeutically for a short time and I did not expect such a sudden and profound reaction.

What jumps out most is that videos really seem to be a great tool to allow these people to bring back their fondest memories.

I achieved the most extraordinary results with the winter landscape videos. Snow is a component of nature that my residents were very much in contact with, it really belongs to them. I involved several residents (6-7) and their reactions were different, but all incredible.
Many memories resurfaced: the walks in the snow with wet feet, the sled made at home out of wood and iron, the father who carried a resident on his back to school for kilometres so that her feet wouldn’t get wet and while she was telling about it, she looked visibly excited, the first boots always handmade by her father to keep her feet warmer and drier… When I asked: “what does snow remind you of?” I was told “life!”.

Incredible was the memory that emerged from the heart of Rosa, a lady who recounted, while watching the video of the autumn woods, when she was 13 years old and used to carry milk on foot from the mountain village where she lived to Rovereto. She struggled a lot and, at one point, said the name of the family to whom she carried the milk. With surprise, the husband of a resident, who had just arrived in the village, said: ‘but that family was mine, I remember you as a young man bringing milk to our house’. They started talking and the resident also remembered that her neighbour was a mechanic, her husband confirmed everything, looking at her amazed at her memory. I was as surprised as he was by the accuracy and vividness of that memory.

Altra nota importante è l’effetto che i video hanno avuto sui familiari, molti di loro si fermano con il proprio caro a guardarli. emozionandosi e condividendo tra di loro alcuni ricordi e/o le sensazioni che provano in quel momento.

The memories they recounted thanks to their immersion in nature allowed me to refine their biographies. In addition to activating their fondest memories, thus awakening their souls, I was able to offer them a hot herbal tea, transforming the ‘technical’ moment of hydration into a moment of ‘socialisation’.


Dr. Maria Rita Di Gioia, Psychotherapist LTC C. Vannetti, Rovereto (TN) Italy.

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