Reality Orientation

What is it? Reality orientation (R.O) is all about presenting information about time, place or person in order to help a person understand their surroundings and situation. This information is repeated at regular intervals.

Example: The use of every day cues like clocks and calendars. Using prompts in conversation that help people to orientate. “I feel really full after that lunch.” “Isn’t it grey for May.”

Who is it suitable for? People living with memory loss who may forget what time it is, where they are and who they are with. It is not suitable for people who are fixed on believing they are in a certain place or situation and are settled in that belief. Using R.O in this situation could cause distress.

Where is it available? R.O isn’t used so much as a stand-alone therapy anymore but elements of it can be used as a basis of therapeutic intervention. Cognitive Stimulation Therapy uses some principles of R.O. and the Memory Matters team use elements of R.O subtley and when appropriate.

Can I use the principles of R.O at home?
Yes. Try and use as many cues as possible around the home. Large clocks with the date on can be very useful. Calendar’s with a clear indication of ‘today’ and what will be happening can be very helpful.