Scrapbooks are Excellent Conversation Starters for Home Caregivers

December 28, 2012

Holidays are a great time for family photos.  And, the extra time family time shared by home caregivers and loved ones during the holidays offers an excellent opportunity for quality time spent discovering old photos and scrap books while recalling warm memories. .

Often during these special times you end up reminiscing at length, pouring over favorite memories, or stumbling upon forgotten experiences that strike a special chord with you now.  These memory-filled moments are good for both you and your aging loved one; you share in fond memories and your loved one share the benefit of mind-exercising activities.

Home caregivers can use scrapbooks and family albums as conversation starters with their loved ones

Home caregivers: bring out the scrapbooks

One way to facilitate the creation of these memory moments is to explore scrapbooks with your loved one.  If you already have scrapbooks, grab a few and flip through them together to see what both of you can remember and to see what other memories are brought up in connection with the pictures, clippings, and memorabilia in the books.You should also consider starting some new scrapbooks.  Even if you already have a ton of them, working on a new scrapbook can be a wonderful activity that provides a few new magical moments and brings two people even closer.

You can decide what might be best to put in your scrapbook.  Many people like to use the opportunity of a starting a new scrapbook to go through old boxes and pull out photos and other bits from the past.

Others prefer to use the new scrapbooks to record what’s going on now, both as a way of creating memories for the future and of helping seniors with failing memories to be reminded of their present.  A current scrapbook can help a home caregiver go over the events of the day that just passed and perhaps use them to help remind Mom or Dad about something that’s coming up: “Here’s a piece of that yarn we bought to make your new scarf.  It won’t be ready when we go to the doctor tomorrow, but you can wear one of your other scarves.”

Scrapbooks can be about the present, too

Remember, a scrapbook doesn’t just have to be limited to photos and news clippings.  Pieces of fabric from a favorite blouse that you’ve had to “retire,” a note from a grandson, dried flower petals from the garden where Dad spends time, a take-out menu from a favorite restaurant, or a piece of small jewelry (such as an earring that no longer has a mate) can make a great addition.  Try to remember to write down next to the item what it is and pertinent information such as when and where you got it and why it’s in the scrapbook.

If you have enough space, you might try the following: give an entire page to an item, and every time you flip through the book and come to that page, ask your loved one what he or she remembers about it or what it makes him or her think about.  Any time a new memory or thought or connection is made, or your loved one makes a new comment about it, write that down on the page.  You can use these additions to help jog your loved one’s memory when you return to that page another day.

Scrapbooks can be a lot of fun – and they can also be a nice, relaxing break from your usual hectic schedule.


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