Monday, July 22, 2013

Creating a Memory Book for Alzheimer's Patients

Memory loss can be a challenge for you and your loved ones. Making a memory book can greatly benefit the person with memory loss, as well as their caregiver. Many Alzheimer's Association chapters recommend doing this.

Making a memory book is a good idea, but how do you go about getting those memories down on paper? Here are some tips to get you started writing life stories.

1. Realize the process is as important as the product. The process of capturing the memories, assembling pictures, and discussion is as important as any finished product. Creating a memory book shouldn't be a one time thing, but rather an on going process, where the person is asked questions over a period of time. This helps stimulate their memory and continually builds a strong relationship with one or more caregivers. Over time, you will have not only have a beautiful memory book, but happier people.

2. Realize that this is not a quiz. Looking through old family photo albums is a great way to help bring back memories, but remember that this is NOT a quiz. It isn't a time to see if the person remembers your Uncle Fred or not. Be patient, and keep questions more specific for your loved one. Don't start each question with "Do you remember...?" The answer will very likely be no. Instead, ask specific yes or no questions. Instead of saying, "Do you remember your wedding day?" ask something like "Was your wedding hot?" or "What did your wedding dress look like?"

3. Realize that the more you know, the more you love. People with memory loss are sometimes difficult to care for, but a memory book helps the caregiver see this person with new eyes. They have led a rich and interesting life with people, times, and places to share. It's important to see them as a child, a youth, a worker, a parent, and a grandparent. There is always more caring and empathy when the whole person is understood.

4. Realize that your memory book should be shared. Make sure that your completed memory book is an on-going source of discussion for the loved one, visitors and caregivers. Pictures should be found to complement the memories, and it should be displayed. These rich, amazing memories don't help anyone if they're hidden away in a book or drawer somewhere.

You can purchase a memory book here to get you started on learning these wonderful memories and creating memories of your own.

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