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How to Create a DIY Memory Box for a Loved One with Dementia

June 2, 2020

If your loved one is experiencing memory loss or Alzheimer’s, it can sometimes be difficult to find ways to help them remember their rich history. Here in Story Cottage at Meridian Hills, Indianapolis , we love to help your loved ones reminisce or revisit happy thoughts in our comforting home environment. One way to help facilitate these memories is with a personalized memory box that they can look through with a family member or caregiver. 

Why Memory Boxes Can Help

Memory boxes can inspire new conversations about the past. You may learn new stories about your aging loved one, or find a special interest or hobby that they still enjoy. Sensory experiences are also important for seniors with Alzheimer’s, especially as it progresses. Exploring certain keepsakes and memories may even spur creativity to share items and stories connected to other life events. 

How to Make your Memory Box

The physical box that you use can vary depending on the items you choose to include in it. A shoe box or small plastic bin should work great. Try to keep your box light, easy to access for your loved one and small enough to fit on their lap or a small table. You can even decorate the box together. 

Which Keepsakes to Choose

The items that you add to your loved one’s memory box should be personal and reflect a certain interest or point in their history. Focus on keepsakes that are connected to positive memories, and that can give them something to look at and talk about. 

Also remember that you’ll want to avoid items that are too heavy or sharp, and make sure that they are easy for your loved one to lift and handle. You may want to laminate fragile photos or postcards and leave out keepsakes that are irreplaceable. 

How to Enjoy the Box Together

You can look at the items in the box with your loved one and see if they stir any memories. However, do not be discouraged if they do not recognize their keepsakes or understand why they are included together. 

You can use this opportunity to tell shared stories that you may know from their history. You might even label the items in the box with a small sticker, or include a piece of paper with the items and a sentence about why they were included. This could be especially helpful if your loved one looks through the box alone or with a caregiver. 

Memories at Story Cottage

Our Story Cottage caregiver team loves to learn about the older adults living in our home, and finding out new things about their history is a great way for us to bond with them. We know that interacting with family members is important to our residents, and we are happy to facilitate that in any way we can. If you have questions about Story Cottage or would like a consultation, please contact us online or at 317-449-5696.