Making a Memory Box for a Loved One with Dementia
December 19, 2020
People living with dementia tend to remember their far-off past relatively well but might not be able to remember an event that happened yesterday. That’s why building a memory box can be a great way to connect with your loved ones as they recall different people and events from their past.
By providing concrete, tangible items that start conversations and spark memories, memory boxes can help family members, friends, and care providers to engage with individuals living with dementia in a healthy, meaningful way. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind before creating your own memory box:
Choose the Right Container
Find a suitable container to serve as your memory box. It should be sturdy and easy to store and lift. Your container can be as simple as a shoebox or Tupperware container, or more ornate like a basket or a chest. You can also decorate the box with drawings, small glued-on items, or photos to make it even more unique.
Find Meaningful Objects
Find objects to put in your memory box that have a specific memory attached to them. These can be objects that reflect your loved one’s interests and hobbies, or just ones with personal significance. Some ideas would be family photos, a favorite book, sports memorabilia, CDs or tapes, artwork from grandchildren, vacation souvenirs, a favorite recipe, old newspaper clippings, or a favorite piece of jewelry or clothing.
Pick Stimulating and Safe Items
Senses like touch and smell help spur memory just as much, or even more so, than sight, so consider choosing items with different textures and fragrances. If you include a CD, be sure to play it with your loved one. And be sure to choose memory-related items that are not sharp, dangerous or heavy to handle.
Consider Including Notes and Clues
The significance of certain items might not come to your loved one right away. Try labeling items with cues and clues, or include a notecard or list in the box detailing all the items with a short description or context clues to suggest why they are meaningful.
Remember, the most important part of making a memory box is what happens after you hand it over. Both you and your loved one will cherish the process of going through the box, talking about each item, recalling memories, and just enjoying the conversations that arise. There are few better, or simpler, tools for spurring connection and engagement with a loved one living with dementia.
If you’re looking for a stimulating environment for someone with dementia, reach out to learn more about what The Lodge at Grand Junction can offer your loved one. Contact us at 970-716-6092.