Memories of A Life Well Lived Creating a Memory Book For Loved Ones With Early-Stage Dementia

When a loved one or senior you provide home care for has dementia, a memory book can give them a sense of security and peace and can also assist the caregivers who interact with them.

Memory BookWhat is a Memory Book?
For seniors with symptoms of dementia, losing precious memories is a symptom that often causes anxiety. These symptoms can be frightening or traumatic to both senior and their loved ones. A memory book is a way to record the personal history of someone who is having trouble recollecting the details of his or her life. It can include pictures, text and tributes such as church bulletins or newspaper clippings. Memory books can contain any information to help remind or reassure an individual who is experiencing forgetfulness.

How Can a Memory Book Be Used?
It can be upsetting or frustrating to experience memory loss. When caregivers have conversations with their clients or loved one, a memory book can help remind them of the names of their grandchildren, what their career or hobby was or exciting places visited, for example. A memory book can also be a source of comfort to the person experiencing dementia, to look at familiar faces and other aspects of their life. Memory books can also be used as a reference point for remembering home care routines, places and providers.

How Do I Create a Memory Book?
There is no exact formula for creating a memory book. Photographs or other tokens that represent their life well lived are perfect. It’s important to begin gathering items for the memory book as soon as your loved one begins to exhibit signs of memory loss and create an early routine of using it.

You Will Need:

  • Photo album or binder with page protectors
  • Construction paper or cardstock
  • Printed photos of loved ones and friends
  • Newspaper clippings, church bulletins, or other memorabilia
  • Pictures and souvenirs of travel and places visited
  • Scissors, tape and/or glue
  • Pens to write short captions or printed captions

Each memory book will be unique to the person who will be using it, so it is best to keep it simple to avoid overwhelming the user. Planning out how to design your individual memory book before you begin will ensure you can tell the complete personal story of their life up to now.

Examples of Specific People or Topics to Include:

  • The individual – who they are, pertinent achievements, occupation, interests
  • Spouse or partner
  • Parents
  • Children and grandchildren
  • Siblings
  • Friends
  • Hobbies and talents
  • Pets, past and present
  • Happy or uplifting anecdotes
  • Favorite songs
  • Caregivers

Using solid colored paper or cardstock with neutral patterns can help them focus on the contents of the book. Using large print, and short concise statements can help them with comprehension. For example, simple sentences like, “You were born on…., Your parents were…. These are your children. Their names are….” You can choose to include a cover page and table of contents depending on the individual’s progression of dementia and their specific strengths and needs.

Keep the individual’s memory book in a place where they can easily access it. Also, it can be helpful to share it with all home health or family caregivers. Read through it with them whenever you visit or work with them. Memory books can offer an interesting life journey for both the senior and the caregiver.

Allcare Home Health Agency, Inc. Certified Nursing Assistants receive ongoing in-service training throughout the year, much of it focused on Dementia care. Call us today at (919) 301-0236 to schedule a new client assessment.