Did you ever make scrapbooks as a kid? They can be a fun way to look back and relive precious memories over and over again. Memory books for adults — especially those with dementia — can have that same effect. Creating a memory book for elderly individuals can be beneficial in helping them remember useful pieces of information and give them an excuse to look back. In this post, we will review the benefits of a memory book, how to make a memory book, and some memory book ideas to get you started.
Benefits of an Alzheimer’s Memory Book
Before we get into how to make a memory book for dementia, let’s review why you should make one. Memory books provide numerous opportunities to reminisce and to trigger other memories. The following are some benefits of a dementia memory book.
- Facilitates communication with loved ones
- Triggers emotions that may result in other memories
- Provides non-verbal opportunities to communicate, such as sighing or laughing, for those unable to use speech
- Allows them to access procedural memory through the memory book-crafting process
- Provides physical closeness as they share memories with someone at their side
What You Will Need
- Binder or photo album
- Glue, tape, or any method to stick photos to pages
- Photos of the person, their friends, family, pets and photos of the person experiencing historical moments, if possible
- Pictures of important life events, such as birthdays, holidays, weddings, and other milestones
- Information to write in such as birthdays, work history, family members’ names, hobbies etc.
Things to Include in a Memory Book
Now that you have all of the necessary materials, it’s time to compile your memory book. Sometimes, a straightforward memory book can be a positive tool to reminisce but other times, it can trigger painful memories. Take into consideration what your loved one can handle as you decide what to include in the book.Here are a few things you should consider:
- Captions can provide some context to photos but you may want your loved one to view the photos with an unbiased lens so they can trigger the memories on their own.
- If you decide to include captions, opt for something short and sweet such as, “My brother Nick riding a red bicycle.”
- Photos of dead family members
- It may be wise not to include photos of dead relatives in a memory book. It may upset the person with dementia because they may need to be reminded that the individual(s) pictured are no longer with us.
- However, if your loved one seems to be aware of these loved ones passing prior to making the book, it can be helpful to include these memories for sentimental purposes.
- Photos and information from other loved ones
- Don’t just rely on your own photos. Reach out to your loved one’s family and friends to see if there are other photos you can include in your memory book.
- You can also interview friends and family for useful pieces of information to include as well.
- Important Information
- In addition to using a memory book as a time capsule, you can also use it to store important pieces of information you or your elderly loved one should remember.
- This can include emergency contact information, addresses, phone numbers, medication schedules, routines, schedules, and favorite foods.
- Outside help from technological resources
- Using scrapbooks and glue work fine but you can also embrace technology to create a memory book. These services provide you with a general outline while also allowing you to embrace your own creativity.
- Mixbooks, Shutterfly, and Snapfish provide great templates.
Now that you know how to get started, gather all of your material together and reminisce with your loved one, just in time for the holidays.