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Dementia activity: How to create a memory book

Everyone has a unique story to tell. When caring for someone with dementia creating and recording a person's life story is central to quality dementia care.

A story board or a mini sketch of a loved one's life is just one of the ways family members can provide nursing care staff with information to develop meaningful activities and conversations.

Family members often find it difficult to come up with things to say when they visit a loved one with dementia in an aged care home. Long silences can mean many visits are cut short. Recording a loved one's life on film, in a family album or in a memory book can also be a touching and memorable way of creating a lifelong legacy for your loved one.

Nursing staff who have a deeper understanding of a person's history, culture and relationships will be more likely to understand and manage a change in a person's behaviour or mood. It's also a nice activity to do with a loved one and other family members.

What do you need to create a life story? Start by collecting information about a person's:

  • previous occupations
  • domestic interests
  • family members
  • hobbies
  • habits
  • pets
  • personal accomplishments
  • past holidays
  • religious and cultural affiliations
  • school memories.

You can create a story board by pasting old photos or cut outs of magazines, coupons, old tickets and paraphernalia in a memory album or cork board. Remember to label pages with familiar names of family members, friends, places or events to prompt conversation. 

This video shows you how to make a memory book.