When my Grandad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it was a huge shock to us all how quickly and severely it took hold. Not long before he died, he went to be cared for in a care home. When he did, my Nan made a photo album full of memories for him of their life together; fun times with us as children and happier times. It really made a difference as he would smile at each picture as if he recognised the people in them and remembered those happy times together.
I know how important memories are for people with any kind of dementia and if my Grandad had still been alive when my girls were born, we would have most definitely done some kind of memory box for him from them.
Active Minds, who design and create activities for people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, contacted me to see if I would like to create a memory box to store the great memories that we are making all the time.
Their aim is to improve the lives of those living with Alzheimer’s by creating products that are engaging and have purpose to them. Some of the things they produce include Dementia friendly jigsaw puzzles and games, and Reminiscence Cards designed to prompt conversations around people’s fondest memories.
I decided that I would help Mia to create a memory box full of things we did before her little sister Lottie was born and how she became a sibling. We were sent a box full of craft things to decorate our box with and record our memories; from tubes of glitter to pretty stickers, sticky letters to stamps. There was everything we needed to create the perfect box of little family memories.
Mia wanted to draw some pictures showing the important things that were happening in our family at that time, so she drew a picture showing her trips with daddy to the park and the very first time she met Lottie and held her!
We also decided to add into the box itself, some mementos of days out we have been on and enjoyed together. Mia really enjoyed creating and decorating this box and we will still have lots of fun adding to it now! It’s lovely to think that she has got something she can treasure for the future and look back on when she’s a bit older.
The idea of the memory box is great as it means that whether you are creating it for a poorly loved one or just wanting to record events and experiences at home, in years to come it will be lovely to look back on and remember things that are sometimes easily forgotten in the craziness of life!