773 E. Haverford Road • Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

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How a Box of Memories Can Help Your Loved One with Dementia to Reconnect

“While short-term memory may be a challenge for your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, their long-term memories may still be very strong and even vivid,” says Crystal Yost, Program Director at Impressions Memory Care in Bryn Mawr, Pa.

“Recalling people, places and events from the happiest times in their life can provide pleasant moments for your loved one and help them to reconnect with the world. In addition, the Alzheimer’s Association and other memory care experts confirm that reminiscing about life ‘back in the day’ has proven useful in enabling loved ones to improve their physical and emotional well-being as well as providing them with a sense of purpose, self-respect and belonging.”

In the article “Alzheimer's and Memories: Use Mementos as CuesGlenn E. Smith, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist at the renowned Mayo Clinic says, "Caregivers become the memory for a loved one who has Alzheimer's disease. By gathering memories, you can bring important events and experiences from your loved one's past into the present. You're the link to his or her life history."

The Memory Box: Using the Magical Power of Memories

Crystal adds, “An ideal way of helping your loved one to recapture past memories is to create what is called a ‘Memory Box’. It provides a convenient means for organizing items that have special meaning and importance for your loved one and evokes pleasant thoughts of days gone by.

“By gathering various mementos from their past that have special meaning and sharing them with your loved one, you can take them back to happier days and start conversations that both of you will enjoy. You might even be shocked about how well they remember specific details.” 

As described in the article “5 Reasons to Make a Memory Box for Alzheimer’s Patients,” the memory boxcan be highly therapeutic, offering important benefits to your loved one, which include:

  • Recalling fond memories of youth, personal interests, children or history in general.
  • Inspiring conversation with caregivers, children or grandchildren.
  • Using touch and other senses that the person will rely on more and more as Alzheimer’s progresses.
  • Spurring creativity. The person may want to create another box about a different life event or memory.
  • Providing you with more insight into your loved one. When you search for keepsakes, you may find special items you did not realize they still had.

Tips for Making a Box of Special Memories

To create the perfect memory box for your loved one, first decide what life experiences hold the most pleasant memories for them. Did they have a favorite hobby or pastime such as cooking, gardening or woodworking? Did they enjoy a particular a sport? Was their career an important part of their life? Was there a particular event that was a highlight of their life?

Once you’ve identified these “memory makers,” you can then collect pertinent items that evoke these memories and take your loved one on “a stroll back in time.”

To get you started, experts in reminiscence therapy offer the following examples to help you get started. As you create your unique box of memories, be sure that all of the items you gather will recall pleasant memories.

  • Family photo albums
  • A letter with special sentimental value
  • Artwork by children or grandchildren
  • Dried flowers
  • Items of favorite sports teams
  • Postcards
  • Vacation souvenirs
  • A diploma

When you first open the memory box with your loved one, ask them to select a favorite item and talk to them about it. The memory box can open a lifetime of wonderful moments from the past that you can enjoy together.

Says Crystal, “At Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr, each resident enjoys a memory box located just outside of his or her apartment.  We encourage our residents and their families to spend time together personalizing the box and making it meaningful to them.

“In addition to providing the latest in highly personalized memory care services in a homelike setting, Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr is an excellent information and support resource for families. We invite you to view our monthly articles and tips on important memory care topics that are specifically designed to assist at-home caregivers and their loved ones.”

We Would Love to Hear from You!

If you have comments about questions on our blog, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences in our comments section.

Engaging Days. Meaningful Moments.

Loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory impairments require specialized care and support. They also deserve a lifestyle rich in dignity and fulfillment. Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr provides residents with Engaging Days and Meaningful Moments that emphasize individual abilities, encourage socialization and promote the highest level of independence possible. We offer a complete continuum of leading-edge programs, services and amenities that address the total physical, emotional and social needs of residents in a caring setting that offers individual suites with large private baths and the comforts of home. Our community touches hearts and changes lives.

Helping Families Be ‘Family’ Again 

Memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or another form of memory impairment doesn’t only affect the person who has it – it affects the entire family.

If you have a loved one with early- to mid-stage memory loss, you know how challenging it can be to provide the care that’s needed while trying to maintain balance in your life. As care needs increase, you may not be able to meet them physically or emotionally. It’s often difficult to be available to care for your loved one’s health and well-being around the clock.

If and when the time comes to seek additional help, place your trust in Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr. We lift the stresses and worries of being a caregiver from your shoulders, enabling you and your family to enjoy time with your loved one again. For more information, please call Sharon at (484) 380-5404,or contact us online.

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.