By Molly Wisniewski United States
Residents downsize quite a bit to move into a care home. Help them reminisce about their past while you learn more about them by creating memory boards!
Creating a memory board is a project that incorporates arts and crafts, reminiscing and 1:1 time. Memory boards are a great way to get to know more about residents and a fabulous activity for family members and other staff members to get involved with.
This project is an enjoyable way for Activity Professionals to incorporate another person-centered activity into their program.
Memory Boards are unique for each resident. Be sure to ask for the resident’s input each step of the way – from what color they want their poster board, to what images are included.
Reminiscing is a fun and engaging activity for seniors, particularly for residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Before you get started, ask yourself, is the resident drawn to a specific period?
For example, are they always asking to go home? What home are they referring to i.e., their childhood home? Create a board dedicated to this period of their life. Include pictures of their home (if they have any) or ask specific questions like what color house was it? Did you get along with your neighbors?
A memory board is a great opportunity to learn more about this time in the residents’ life. Learning more about this time of their lives will even allow you to reminisce with them later when they bring it up again.
Create a sheet with a list of questions to ask each resident:
A Memory Board may take a couple of days to set up and complete. Take time and have fun with this project!
Activity Professionals are not the only staff members who benefit from learning more about the residents in their care. Invite other departments to join in during a specific part of the project, even if it is only for 15 minutes so that they have a chance to get to know the residents a bit better, too.
You may ask them to conduct the interviews or ask for their help to sort through the resident’s photographs. No matter which part, ensure that you encourage staff to spend some time with the resident.
As staff and residents get to know each other on a personal level the quality of care improves. It is in encouraging these types of relationships that we can work to bring about culture change.
Most family members look for ways to stay active in their loved one’s care, but sometimes they don’t know where to begin. Inviting family members to become involved in this project can be a fun bonding experience between them and the resident.
Even family members who live far away can take part in this fun activity! They will no doubt have a ton of pictures they could send you and may even have a funny story they think should be added to the board.
As well, residents who have Aphasia or who are not able to answer your questions can still participate in the project if Activities Professionals call up the family to ask them the questions on the interview sheet.
Related: Aphasia Activity Ideas
The fun doesn’t have to stop when the boards are complete! When the Boards are finished, invite all the residents, families, and staff to attend a Gala opening where the boards are displayed.
Serving sparkling cider and light refreshments will delight those in attendance and dignify the event and the residents who are presenting. The residents are sharing a glimpse of their lives with the community, which should be encouraged and respected by anyone who attends.
Creating a Memory Boards is a fun activity that allows residents to shine as individuals. This activity includes arts and crafts, a 1:1 activity, reminiscing and can even be considered as a large group activity if you choose to hold a Gala at the end.
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