If there is someone in your family who is in the early stages of dementia, one of the things you can do with them is to make a memory book. With all the scrapbooking materials and the publishing capability of computers, you will be able to make a memory book that is both beautiful and unique to your loved one. First, you will need to make a list of topics you want to include: The following list is not exhaustive, but may help you get started with your own list:
- Memories of early childhood
- Memories of parents and grandparents
- Memories of toys your loved one and any siblings/friends played with
- Memories of what it was like to go to the movies
- Memories of school
- Memories of trips and vacations taken as a child
- Memories of firsts: first date, first car, first job, first house/apt., etc.
- Memories of military service
- Memories of engagement, wedding, and married life
- Memories of how holidays were celebrated
- Memories of occasions when he/she was proud of children, spouse, or other family members
- Memories of how much things cost “way back when”
Write or type the answers on separate pages and decorate the pages with family pictures and/or scrapbooking supplies. Fortunately, since long-term memory is retained longer than short-term memory, the result will be a book that you and your loved one can share over and over.
If you loved one has passed the point where he or she can provide information for a memory book, you can still create a book using family pictures and scrapbooking supplies. Label who is in each picture and what the picture is about. Again, it will give you something you can both share as you look through the memory book.
Do not worry if there are different stories at different times given by your loved one as he or she looks at the pictures. The content is not as important as the sharing. Good memories = good feelings, and we can all use good feelings as we cope with the effects of dementia.
Elder Care Coordinator