Memory album, reminiscence box ?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Angela T, Apr 17, 2015.

  1. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    Hello everyone,

    My daughters and I would like to do a memory album for my mother who went into care in January.

    Do you have any tips, or ideas... that would help ?

    I'm wondering how far back we should go ? Is it better not to include people who have died (her husband, her sons) - would that just make her unhappy ?

    Is it better to have a lot of detail... or make it short and sweet ?

    Another idea they suggest in the nursing home is a Reminiscence box - with objects... Does anyone have any experience of this ?

    Thanks !
     
  2. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    6,838
    Suffolk
    I'd be interested too, because OH will have something similar if he does go into care full time. The only thing I can think of is a picture of his children, labelled with names, and a picture if some pigs ( he used to keep them for a while). His memory is very poor even at it's best!
     
  3. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    12,237
    Female
    England
    My husband's memory book started off when we met. I then went through our life putting in pictures of important times, our wedding, birth of the children and several pages of the different stages in their life. I included pictures of how our home had changed over the years because of the work my husband had done. Last picture showed no resemblance to the first one. Childrens weddings and holidays spent with family. Lots of photos of the garden through the seasons. Most pictures had a journal just so he could read about the occasion if he could not remember it. Sadly now he never looks at it but the carers in the nursing home love it because they see him as he was.

    The box he has is what I call a fiddle box. Bits and pieces of no relevance but he can pick them up and put them down. So there are pictures of objects, tools he worked with, cars he had driven, a small model car, a large industrial fuse, a comb, wallet etc, just anything that will fit into the box.

    Hope it gives you some ideas and hope you get as much pleasure out of doing it as I did.
     
  4. Soobee

    Soobee Registered User

    Aug 22, 2009
    2,734
    South
    I did a 'book' for mum from when she was born.

    It had mainly photos in but some text about her, her mum and dad, her siblings, where she went to school, how she met my dad, their marriage, their first house, their children, their jobs and cars. It had anecdotes all the way through that they had told me years ago. e.g. they got engaged on the top deck of a London bus.

    It was going to go on to what her interests were (bingo and wrestling) and holidays they'd been on, who their friends were but I didn't finish it. I ought to finish it as a heirloom for my daughter.

    I did put in people who'd died and it didn't seem to upset her. Hopefully it wouldn't upset your mother either.
     
  5. opaline

    opaline Registered User

    Nov 13, 2014
    182
    I, too, have looked out some photos to start a memory book for mum but I don't know if it's kind of cruel reminding her of how her life used to be?
     
  6. creativesarah

    creativesarah Registered User

    If I can help let me know takes look at my website with downloadable document on how to do it
    creativesarah.weebly.com
     
  7. Soobee

    Soobee Registered User

    Aug 22, 2009
    2,734
    South
    I can get to your site creativesarah, but when I click on 'more...' nothing happens. I can see for a moment that there are a lot more sections but I can only see 4 across the top bar.
     
  8. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    18,296
    Male
    North Manchester
    #8 nitram, Apr 17, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2015
  9. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    #9 Angela T, Apr 17, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2015
    Thank you, yes I couldn't get the link to work either... now I have been to look, and yes there are some good ideas.

    I like the idea of a book/folder so we can add or remove pages - I think my daughter was thinking more of a finished album, with scanned photos and printed out... I feel that it is less flexible somehow...
     
  10. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,489
    Female
    London
    I got a really good deal on photo books and made two of them for £19 each. They consist of over 100 pages and were professionally printed and bound. It takes quite some time though to put all the photos together, then to decide how to insert them on the pages, what the text, if any should be.... I did one for our Iceland holiday and one for OH's life, although most of the pictures were just from the last decade. It was an effort, but the end product was fantastic and we often look through the books together.
     
  11. curtainsgalore

    curtainsgalore Registered User

    Nov 2, 2014
    46
    I got my teenaged daughter involved making a memory album for my Mum. Pictures from her whole life. Childhood up to adult hood. Friends, holidays, pets,parties,gardening photos which Mum always enjoyed. Also a list if the hobbies my Mum used to enjoy. She doesn't get upset, just smiles as she see photos from years ago that she knows mean something to her but not sure what. My daughter did very simple text in large print. Mum can read sometimes but sometimes not. It's a good prompting tool. It also gives family and friends something to do if there are not sure what to talk about. It also helped my daughter to learn what dementia is and how her nana is now.
    I think the AS have guidance on how to make a memory book too.
    Good therapy making and looking at.
     
  12. Onlyme

    Onlyme Registered User

    Apr 5, 2010
    4,999
    UK
    I made up a photo album for Mum but when she looked at the photos she told me she had seen them before and wasn't interested. I tried talking about them and she clearly knew who was in the photo but had no interest. I'm not saying it isn't a good idea, just that it may not be well received.
     
  13. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    12,237
    Female
    England


    I did my husband's when he was first diagnosed and to him it was just like a photo album with notes by each photo. It was left out and as he progressed he often picked it up and looked through it and as his memory faded the notes were useful to give him a jog.

    Now he is way passed knowing or recognising and he has it in his nursing home. The staff look through it and can see and read about his life before dementia.

    I agree that if made too late a memory book might not have the desired effect but can be useful to others who may be caring .
     
  14. Grey Lad

    Grey Lad Registered User

    Sep 12, 2014
    5,737
    North East Lincs
    I am trying something a little different on the Memory Book idea. My idea is to create a visual diary as my OH often says that she has few visitors and spends most of her time in bed. So I am trying to set the record straight with photos of things we do and comings and goings here. Her initial reaction is to say how tired she has looked in some of the photos. It will be interesting to see how this little projects develops.
     
  15. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    Even if his memory is poor, it would give his carers something to talk to him about... and would show them something of his life before dementia.
     
  16. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    You are very well organised - your memory book sounds amazing!

    And as you say, it gives the carers in the nursing home a chance to see him as he was. I always find it moving, and interesting, to see photos of CH residents, and to imagine them in their younger years.

    The fiddle box is a good idea too.

    Thanks for your ideas !
     
  17. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    Thanks for your ideas - yes I think we can include people who have died, they were part of her life after all. And anecdotes is a lovely idea as well !

    It's true, it would be nice for you to finish as an heirloom for your daughter.

    It's easy to start these things and not finish them...!
     
  18. Dazmum

    Dazmum Registered User

    My book for mum was very similar in content to Soobee's. I too thought long and hard about having photos of people that had passed away, wondering if she would ask why they hadn't come to see her, as she doesn't remember that they have gone. I also interspersed the personal photos with pictures of flowers and butterflies to add as distraction if necessary. I also put in little anecdotes about her life. Thankfully, she loves it and we often look at it together. As others have said it really helps if we run out of conversation or if she's cross or upset when I visit. The carers enjoy it too, and I made it as colourful as possible.

    I did it through an online programme so that if it gets damaged or lost I can make another. I can understand the idea of having it as a loose leaf file though in case any of the photos do cause upset. I really enjoyed making it too, as often it's hard to think of gifts.
     
  19. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    Thank you nitram for the link !

    And thank you creative sarah for the info on making memory books - I have passed the link on to my daughters.

    You give a lot of helpful tips : choice of themes, large faces on the photos, naming the people on the photos, keeping the text short and simple...

    We need to decide whether to go for a loose-leaf book or folder (more flexible for adding or taking away pages) or a photo book online which looks more "professional"...

    My daughter has completed one theme along the lines you suggest, and it looks amazing!

    Thanks!
     
  20. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    You could test the idea by showing her a few photos - different themes on different days - and seeing how she reacts...

    I see what you're saying about it being cruel to remind her of her past, but I'm thinking more and more now that my mother actually needs to retreat into her past as an escape from the present, which she doesn't like.

    For example, she cannot walk independently now, but she regularly tells me how she went walking back to her old house (that she lived in when she was 30, or 20...) and visited it... I feel she needs that.
     

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