memory box for dementia patients

What To Put in a Memory Box for People With Dementia?

Would you like to allow a senior close to you who suffers from dementia to preserve their memories for longer and support them in their daily therapy? How about movingly immortalising their best memories in such an unusual form? You are probably wondering what we mean, right? Have you ever heard of a dementia memory box? No? Well, that’s about to change, because today we are going to tell you about what a dementia memory box is and how they can be helpful in the daily treatment of this disease! We’ll also add a handful of ideas on what to put in a memory box for an elderly person with dementia so you can make them a truly personalised gift! So let’s not prolong and start from the beginning; what are dementia memory boxes?

What is a dementia memory box?

Dementia memory boxes are storage boxes containing an object or items commemorating a particular life moment.  Their contents are usually items that are meaningful in some way to the person or the person’s environment. It can be a treasured personal item, such as photographs of loved ones or a piece of clothing, or an item that the person with dementia may associate with the past, such as children’s clothes, a watch or jewellery given by a loved one. You can make them yourself, for example from an empty shoebox or jewellery box, or buy a special dementia memory box from one of the companies selling this type of gadget. The purpose of dementia memory boxes is not only to give pleasure to the person with the illness, but also to give him or her peace of mind and is helpful in stopping the progression of this terrible disease.

senors outside making a memory box

How can a memory box help people with dementia?

Dementia memory box helps to recall people and events from the past. Memories thought to be lost can emotionally stimulate seniors and encourage conversation with loved ones. Thay can even bring back lost pieces of memory. Sometimes something as simple as a ring included in a dementia memory box, or the familiar smell of perfume, or the texture of shells collected on holiday can bring back the joy of living for someone with dementia. Dementia memory boxes are a source of pleasure and encouragement for a loved one entering old age, but it’s not just about feeling good! Memory boxes also provide mental and emotional stimulation. Research shows that talking to people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias about their lives can trigger positive emotional experiences, reduce stress and provide a better quality of life, stimulating well-being and eliminating apathy and depression.

Dementia memory boxes evoke positive reactions and act as a morale booster, plus they provide a great opportunity for conversation and bonding between the senior and carer. Creating a dementia memory box is a simple activity often used in reminiscence therapy.  All you need to do is sit down together and explore a collection of objects or photos from senior’s past to stimulate short-term recollections and long-term memories. A dementia memory box can also open up communication, which can be particularly difficult for people with dementia, as well as making a loved one feel more at ease and have an occupation that interests them.

What to put in a memory box for people with dementia?

The contents of a dementia memory box are varied and should depend on the senior’s lifestyle, temperament, memories and likes. It can contain just about anything as long as it is related to the senior’s life. However, we don’t recommend putting in things that can evoke unpleasant connotations and memories. When looking for memory box ideas, focus on highlighting the best and most enjoyable moments of a person’s life. Looking for inspiration on what to put in a memory box? Here are some of our memory box ideas.

seniors looking through an album

Ideas for what to put in a dementia memory box:

  • Photos of loved ones,
  • Clothes,
  • Jewellery,
  • Postcards,
  • Letters,
  • Diaries,
  • Magazines,
  • Souvenirs from holidays,
  • Children’s favourite teddy bears and toys,
  • Books,
  • Music CDs,
  • Tickets for important events,
  • Gifts from loved ones,
  • Work-related items,
  • Hobby-related items.

As we mentioned, there are plenty of ideas, so think about the likes, hobbies and passions of your senior with dementia and then spice it up with photos or items that remind you of work, loved ones and friends. But remember, whatever the contents, a dementia memory box will allow you and your senior to have some great times and be a great conversation starter.

We hope we have inspired you to create a dementia memory box and have given you some memory box ideas that you have enjoyed. For more information on living with a senior with dementia, check out our blog!