Design for Dementia Care

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Why Memory Boxes should be a common feature in Care Homes...

Visiting a relative living with dementia in a care home can sometimes be a real challenge and from discussions with relatives, we have learnt that some people find it so daunting they sometimes take what they consider the easy option and reduce the number of visits they make, not because they don’t care, but because they can’t always find conversation.

Some people worry or struggle about how to include the person in a conversation or don’t know what to talk about.  I know from personal experience the strain and anxiety this can cause and for many this can result in a visit being put off or cut short.

Memory boxes are a great idea and have proven to be great ice-breakers, providing food for thought so that families can really enjoy their visit by reminiscing about the past with their loved one.

Memory Box A great ice-breaker, providing food for thought

The boxes can be filled with memory-provoking items such as classic toys, wedding memorabilia, and photos, in fact, anything that can inspire conversation.

Each resident could have their own personal memory box outside their room, full of items and photos from their past. This not only helps them identify their room, it helps staff to build relationships with those they are caring for and it also encourages residents to socialise with each other.

Memory Box Ideas

Here are some items often seen in existing memory boxes:

  • For someone who loved gardening – dried flowers, a gardening book, photos of their garden
  • For someone who loved to travel – postcards from around the world, photographs of their favourite destination, a souvenir
  • For a housewife – family photos, a special recipe, artwork from the grandchildren

The most important thing to remember when creating a memory box is that every item should be personal to the individual and guided by their interests and strongest, happiest memories.

The memory box should also be a “work in progress” that is linked to their life story focusing on bringing their history to life – and into the present

To find out more about our range of memory boxes click here