How to create a dementia memory box

Dementia memory boxes are easy to put together and can be used to help someone with dementia communicate and reminisce

How to create a dementia memory box 14 January

What is a dementia memory box?

A dementia memory box is a treasure trove of items and images that relate to your loved one's past.

What are the benefits?

Creating a dementia memory box is a simple activity where you can use reminiscence therapy to help your loved one at home.  By just sitting down together and exploring a collection of items or images from your loved one's past you can help encourage short-term memories by stimulating long-term ones.

A dementia memory box can also open-up the lines of communication (something which people with dementia can find particularly difficult), as well as making your relative feel more at ease and providing an activity that interests them.

What type of box can you use?

The memory box itself can take many forms:

  • a large jewellery box
  • a plastic food container
  • a shoebox covered with wrapping paper

Ideas for what to put in your dementia memory box

What to put in your dementia memory box will be unique to your loved one, some ideas to consider include:

  • Photographs
  • Letters
  • CDs containing favourite songs
  • Items, or images of items, relating to your loved one's previous career (e.g. if your relative used to be a doctor you might include a stethoscope)
  • Mementos and souvenirs
  • Items, or images of items, relating to a hobby

Including items that are multisensory is particularly important because in the later stages of dementia touch can capture attention far better than conversation or reading.

Has using a memory box worked well for you?  Any suggestions for items to include?  Share your experiences with others in the comments box below...

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