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How To Make A Dementia Memory Kit

July 07, 2021 3 min read

When seniors with dementia struggle to participate and carry out daily activities, they get bored easily which could lead to symptoms of anger, agitation, anxiety and even depression. Furthermore, memories from the past become hazy as the syndrome progressively damages the brain cells. However, items that hold a special meaning to individuals can stimulate them emotionally and mentally, helping them to recall people and events from the past.

Therefore, we suggest creating their very own dementia memory box as it is a great way to cope with and manage the symptoms of dementia. This box should be personalised according to the individual and contain a variety of items centered around them such as old photographs, holiday souvenirs, and also activities for the patient to engage with when they are bored. Such items can be used to engage their 5 senses and comfort them when they are anxious. Additionally, this kit acts as a bridge between caregivers and dementia patients to communicate and connect as they are great conversation starters, making it an overall enjoyable process.

    Steps to creating a Dementia Memory Kit:

    1. Find a suitable container

    • It can be a plastic bin, a basket, a shoe box, an empty milo tin or ice cream box
    • It should be durable and able to store easily
    • It can even just be a designated shelf or drawer

    2. Decorate the box

    • This is based on the preference of the patient - be it extravagant or simplistic, it is completely up to them!
    • Decorate it together - enlist the help of family members, it will be a great bonding opportunity
    • Label it so it's easy to locate

    3. Start adding items

    Possibilitiesfor what dementia patients can add into their memory box are endless. These are very personal and unique to each individual. Try to include items that can help to trigger their 5 senses - touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. Here are some suggestions to help you:

    Memory Triggers

    Consider adding items that reflect and represent their past interests and specialmonumental moments in their lives.

    • Old photographs: family pictures, wedding pictures, pictures with old friends. The patient can even use these pictures to create scrapbooks.
    • Favourite movie
    • Favourite music: old tapes, vinyls or CDs
    • Favorite fragrance: hand cream, perfume, soap bar
    • Favourite item of clothing or jewellery 
    • Souvenirs: special keepsakes from past holidays
    • A trophy they won in the past
    • A letter from a loved one
    • A family heirloom

    Activities

    These items can help keep dementia patients engaged as they will always have something to do when they are bored. You can even DIY these items to add a personal touch to them.

    • Fidget Widgets (TwistSlideRollTurn): These objects give their restless hands something to do. They are great for calming the individual to reduce anxiety and even self-harming behaviors in the later stages of dementia. 
    Roll Fidget Widget
    • Colouring books or simple painting activities. These printable templates can also be found online. Check out our unique AquaPaint sets HERE. Simply paint water onto the sheets and watch the image appear!Aquapaint Dementia Activity Set (Ocean Life) Default
    • Card games: Snap, Charades, Memory matching, storytelling. Consider our Hua Hee Matchoonary for an all-in-one card deck with a local touch for them! 
    Hua Hee Matchoonary
    • Puzzles: Word Search, Dot-to-Dots worksheets, Crossword Puzzles. There are many free and printable puzzles or templates online. Try to create your own crossword puzzle and personalise it to the individual. Include clues and things that happened in the past such as things related to past holidays or people they know well to trigger their memories. Questions can include: the first country you visited with your family, the month your daughter was born, your favourite animal etc.
    • Bubble wrap
    • Magnets
    • Legos
    • Velcro dot craft sticks: Seniors can stack and make shapes with the velcro dots that are easily removablefree play with velcro dot craft sticks aka popsicle stick shapes
    • Matching games: create fun and easy shapes and patterns with different textures and colours for seniors to play with. activities for seniors with dementia
    • Foam lacing shapes: Cut and punch holes around fun foam shapes for seniors to lace strings through them. This is an affordable and fun way to train their hand functions.activities for seniors with dementia

    We hope that this suggestion of a dementia memory kit has helped you to create a fun atmosphere and keep the seniors engaged. The items in the kit can hopefully encourage them to share the special memories associated with these items and inspire a waterfall of thoughts and conversations. 

    For more items, shop our full range of dementia activities HERE!

    Download our Quick Guide to Dementia E-book here!


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