The idea is a simple, yet powerful, one.
It involves collecting together lots of photographs from the person's past, encouraging them to reminisce and talk about their life, and then recording all these memories together in a home-made book.
While dementia often diminishes short-term memories, memories from further back in the past are often stronger, so given encouragement and stimulation, it is often surprising how responsive and engaged people can become. The emphasis of course is on what they can remember, rather than what they can't, and the positive feelings this evokes can really help boost self-esteem in the person with dementia and brighten the mood of everyone involved.
The video below produced by the Dementia Services Development Centre team at the University of Stirling, shows a fantastic example of just how much can be gained through the making of a Life Memories book. The project has clearly been a hugely enjoyable one for both Ann and her Mother, Mary. As they look through the book they have made together, the bond they share through reliving Mary's memories is heartwarming to see.
Once made, the book can be referred to over and over again to stimulate memories, and encourage interaction. It can help future carers get to know the person as an individual, and ultimately is likely to become an heirloom to be passed down to future generations.
To find out more about how to go about making a Life Memories Book, the Alzheimer's Society have produced an excellent 4 page guide which contains all the information you need to get started. Download it from their website by clicking on the link here: