At Autumn View Gardens, we're committed to ensuring residents in our community receive the care and support they need to thrive. For seniors living with dementia, this commitment to care involves navigating safely through the confusing process of memory loss. One way to accomplish this is by creating memory books.
Memory books, sometimes referred to as life storybooks, are a collection of life moments and memories those with dementia can refer to when the water gets a little muddy. Typically made with the assistance of a family member or loved one, memory books can be a joy to create for everyone involved.
A memory book is a way of recording memories, important dates, names and other facts. Memory books are constructed using photographs, captions and short descriptions. They might include pictures and names of family, friends or coworkers. You can also include photos and short memories of holiday parties, previous jobs, favorite movies or any other vital memories you choose to highlight.
You can use a physical notebook or a digital app to record special memories as long as you keep the layout simple and straightforward. Memory books are not the same as memory boxes. Memory boxes include physical items that can be taken out and held but don't always have a description or reminder attached to them.
Memory loss can be difficult to navigate. This rings true for both the person living with dementia and their family. The great thing about memory books is that they can be as beneficial to the seniors whose memories are being recorded as they are to the loved ones helping them.
Creating memory books is an effective way to bond and increase trust, which, in turn, can help make the person living with dementia feel safer and more comfortable. Here are some of the other ways your loved ones might benefit from creating a memory book.
Additionally, memory books can be used as:
When it comes to making your own memory book, it’s smart to remember that the process is just as important, if not more important, as the final product. Remember to savor it, take your time, and be patient.
To make a memory book you need a physical notebook, a sturdy photo book or a binder. If you prefer the digital route, you can use something as simple as a Word document, or you can use an app such as Apple Pages. Here are some additional materials you may need:
During this process, it’s important to touch on memories that range from childhood to the present. These questions can range from “What are your parents' names?” to “What was your favorite holiday party?”
The point is to document the highlights of life. Oftentimes, broad general questions can be tough to answer. For example, instead of asking “Do you remember your job?” you can ask, “What kind of outfits did you wear to work?”
Remember that this process is designed to be a positive experience for people living with dementia. It is not a time to quiz them or press them on memories they can't recall.
It’s also good to remember that this book should be out on display and not tucked away into a drawer after completion. The book is meant to be shared and used as a conversation tool.
Memory books are an effective way to bond with loved ones, increase communication skills and decrease negative side effects such as depression. But memory books aren’t the only solution. There are many ways you can support someone with dementia. Even playing music and eating certain foods can make a positive impact. At Autumn View Gardens assisted living community, we believe in the power of communication and the value of personal connections as a means to help improve the quality of life for everyone involved.