How-To Articles

How to Provide Reminiscing Activities for
Your Residents With Dementia

Residents with dementia can still recall old memories and actions. One way to help them reminisce is with memory boxes.

Using memory boxes (plastic containers) that contain everyday items can help jumpstart a discussion with your residents. Here are a few memory box ideas to get you started:

Baking/Cooking: Provide small utensils like a whisk and wooden spoon, as well as a variety of cookie cutters. Add in pot holders and an apron to wear. Use a few spices to pass around for residents to smell. If available, include a small cookbook to reminisce about favorite recipes.

Military: Include a military medal and dog tag for residents to hold. Download an old draft card and an old military poster to spark a conversation about being drafted. Add in a camouflaged item and a picture of a soldier.

Office: Supply a small container of paper clips and rubber bands, a stapler, and a writing pen. Use a necktie to start a conversation about getting dressed in the morning for work. Include a notebook and calculator for residents to demonstrate how to use.

Carpentry: Use a tape measure to help residents take measurements. Provide a pencil and a ruler to mark a line, and include a small toolbox to encourage residents to name its contents, like wrenchscrewdriver, and screws.

Baby: Include a few baby clothes and a baby blanket for residents to feel. Use the noise of a rattle to bring back memories. In addition, include a baby doll and diaper for residents to show you how to change a baby. Use a baby bottle and pacifier for residents to demonstrate feeding.

Wedding: Provide a bow tie and a string of pearls to start a discussion with your residents about their wedding day. Include a garter and a wedding topper to discuss their wedding reception.

Jewelry: Supply a variety of colorful rings for the residents to try on. Include a necklace and a bracelet for residents to reminisce about the jewelry gifts they have received over the years. Use sparkly hair pinsearrings, and brooches to catch the eye of residents.

Vacation: Download a passport entry to chit chat about world travels. Include a pair of sunglasses for residents to try on. Add in a few postcards from popular American cities, as well a luggage tag.

Table Games: Recall the fun of playing Friday night poker or playing with a bridge club by using tokens from popular games. Add in a few poker chips and dominoes for residents to show how to use them. Use a deck of cards for residents to deal to one another. Include a small pad of paper and pencil for residents to demonstrate how to keep score.

Sewing: Supply a variety of colored thread for residents to reminisce about their sewing days. Use a thimble and pin cushion for demonstrations. Include a sewing pattern and ask residents to help you read it.

Gardening: Use a few seed packets featuring popular flower seeds. Include a set of garden gloves for residents to try on. Hand over a trowel for residents to show how to use.

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