Memory Box Guide For Seniors With Dementia

Senior woman and nurse looking together at album with old photographs 12/16/2016

Creating A Memory Box For Seniors With Dementia

Memory boxes can be an effective way to provide a stimulating and engaging activity for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia. And the good news is that they are easy and inexpensive to assemble.

What is a Memory Box for Dementia?

Memory boxes can come in many forms. It might be a shoebox filled with a seniors favorite mementos or an activity box full of items they use for their favorite hobbies. Both are designed to help engage the adult by drawing on older memories that haven’t yet been impacted by their disease.

Creating a Dementia Memory Box for a Senior Loved one

Despite the label of “memory box,” you aren’t necessarily limited to just using a box. Memory boxes can be assembled in tote bags, a bureau drawer or even in plastic containers depending upon the size of the items you plan to include.

Some family caregivers find it helpful to create their box in a container that is easy to take with them to physician appointments or in the car when they are traveling long distances. Having a box of familiar things to sort through can help soothe anxiety and agitation in an adult with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

So what goes in to a memory box for an adult with dementia?

That depends upon what has always been important to your senior loved one.

Things you traditionally put in a memory box can range from family photos to vacation souvenirs, old letters, dried flowers, artwork from the kids or grandkids and keys to the senior’s first car. The goal is to create a collection of cherished belongings that may trigger happy memories for an adult with memory loss.

Activity-style memory boxes are centered on creating a box filled with items that relate to the older adult’s hobbies, interests and/or former career. If, for example, your loved one with dementia always enjoyed baseball, you might fill a memory box with some of their sports treasures. It could be their old baseball glove, ticket stubs from games they attended and their prized baseball card collection.

Safety Tips for Dementia Memory Boxes

There are a few safety tips to keep in mind when you are creating a memory box for a loved one with dementia:

  • Don’t include small items that can present a choking hazard in a memory box. It isn’t uncommon for people with more advanced Alzheimer’s or dementia to put things in their mouth and try to swallow them.
  • Avoid objects with sharp edges or things that are heavy and could cause harm if they are dropped or thrown.
  • Because people with dementia often misplace things, it is best not to put anything overly valuable or precious to you in the box.

Best Friends Approach to Memory Care

At Elmcroft Senior Living, we use our proprietary Best Friends approach to caring for residents with dementia. You can see how it helps improve the quality of life for older adults who call one of our communities home by scheduling your personal tour today!