Reminiscing is a huge enjoyment for a person living with dementia. Being able to tell their life story can be both rewarding and enjoyable. It can be extremely gratifying when collecting your memorable moments together, looking back over the good times shared amongst family and friends. It can be a great idea for anyone who is looking for an ideal gift for someone living with dementia.
Starting your scrapbook can be as simple as collecting those sentimental items into a shoe box or you can collect your photographs and make them into a storyline.
Reasons to Create a Scrapbook
There are many advantages to producing a scrapbook with a person living with dementia, these are:
- Increases their self-esteem, when they are able to recall life events they gain confidence and pride within themselves.
- Can help alleviate boredom and the feeling of isolation.
- Whilst reminiscing it helps to give a sense of enjoyment and stimulation.
- When used in a professional care environment, a life story (as many professional carers have found) can help to start conversations and help with the “get to know you” part which can often be slow.
- The whole activity can be meaningful to family members and will be treasured for years.
- Helps to bring families closer together, whilst sharing the task of creating the scrapbook, it is possible to learn things you may not have known about your family.
What Not To Do
Feign interest, it is important that you listen to what the person is saying and give them your full attention. As they may be able to tell when you are being insincere and this will cause them upset.
Take Control, whilst you are helping with the whole process, it is essential that you do no try to take over the process as this is their personal story. The whole process of building their life story is more important to them than the finished product.
Finding Things for Inspiration
One of the best places to start is with any old photographs you have, from your baby photos right up until the present day, it is also a great help if you write the names and rough dates on the back of the photos, so that when you come back to them you both know who they are and when the photograph was taken.
Are there any moments in their life which they can remember particularly well? It may have been their first day of school or the first car they purchased. If this is the case, then you should be able to find some images online which are based around the idea but will be more generic. These images should help to stimulate their brain and help them to produce more memories by looking at them.
You don’t just have to complete your life story inside, it can be great to go outside, perhaps to visit a place where they used to love going to or the place they used to live. This can bring out happy memories, not to mention that it will give the benefits of being out and about.
The best way to create the life story is to have chapters, this way you can set out the scrapbook with “My Work Life” and “My Home”. Of course, you can make this more complex if required, placing in any views that they have about these things.