Preserve Your Favorite Memories: Scrapbooking for Seniors
Scrapbooking, or creating a memory book, is a great way for you or your older family members to express yourself, preserve memories, and spend time indoors during the cooler months.
Creating a memory book can also reduce stress in older adults because it allows them to share stories from their life in a creative way. The scrapbooking process can also trigger memories and delay memory loss for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Not sure how to get started on your family member or friend’s scrapbooking project? No worries, we’ve got you covered! Read our easy-to-follow tips on how to begin capturing memories with scrapbooking.
What You’ll Need to Create a Memory Book
Before you begin scrapbooking, you will need to compile a few basic crafting materials:
- A photo album, binder, or lose pages
- Glue, tape, or sticky tack
- Decorative elements like stickers or glitter
- Markers to write important dates, names or details
You might want to consider printing or sketching a few page layouts to use as templates for the rest of the pages. Having a selection of pre-designed layouts can make the scrapbooking process go a little easier, especially for people who don’t feel they are very creative.
Choosing a Memory Book Theme
Theme selection is a scrapbooking fundamental. That is to say, each page in a memory book should be tied together by a common thread. Before you and your relative begin crafting, discuss the purpose of the memory book.
Maybe your grandfather wants to create a memory book about sports, including photographs of his grandchildren playing baseball, himself hiking, and cutouts from an outdoors magazine.
Other thematic ideas might include vacations, holidays, hobbies, and birthdays. The theme can be anything, as long as it imbues positive emotions. (Keep in mind that some topics or photographs may trigger negative feelings.)
What to Put in a Memory Book
Scrapbooks typically include photographs, keepsakes, text, and other paper decorations centered around the theme.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. You can also include:
- Tickets, be it movie tickets, plane tickets or concert tickets
- Invitations from a wedding baby shower or anniversary celebration
- Lyrics to a favorite song, or the cover art of a favorite album
- Drawings and doodles
- Handwritten letters
- Favorite quotes or inspiration
- Maps of places traveled to in the past
Memory Book Ideas for Dementia
No medication can cure Alzheimer’s or dementia. However, cognitive stimulation therapy, an approach that encourages older adults to engage in stimulating activities like scrapbooking, has been shown to reduce negative feelings and cognitive decline.
Creating memory books affords other benefits as well. Scrapbooking gives individuals with dementia the opportunity to access procedural memory while they craft and assists dementia patients in recalling positive memories. It also facilitates creativity, communication, and engagement.
How to Make a Memory Book for Dementia
Once you and your relative discuss the theme and compile related materials, allow your relative to take the lead. Assist by helping with tasks they may lack the dexterity for like scissoring; however, always allow them to try. Remember that the more engaged they are in the process, the more beneficial it is for reducing cognitive decline and encouraging memory recall.
Explain that the scrapbooking materials can be glued onto the page any way they’d like. Depending on the progression of their Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may need to help by modeling how to paste the objects.
You can also help by asking questions throughout the crafting process. You may, for example, point to a photograph and ask, “Is this a picture of your daughter, Megan? What was she doing in this photograph, grandpa?”
What to Put in a Memory book for Dementia
For people with dementia, you might want to include memory book content that evokes positive memories from the past. Memory books can be organized chronologically, by location or even by yearly events (such as a Christmas memory book). They can also center on a theme, as discussed above.
It’s also a good idea to include captions to describe when each photo was taken and who is pictured. You can also include important information they might want to reference often, like emergency contacts and family members’ names.
Other content you can include:
- Pictures of the person’s hometown or places they lived
- Family members, friends and pets
- Educational memorabilia, including photos, report cards or diplomas
- Military memorabilia for veterans, like pictures, dog tags, souvenirs from travel in the military, or just patriotic-themed imagery from magazines
- Pictures and keepsakes related to a favorite hobby, like packets of seeds and pictures of flowers for someone who loves gardening
- Photos of happy memories like vacations, birthday parties, new babies, and retirement celebrations
Memory Book Ideas for Grandparents and Grandkids
Scrapbooking is also a wonderful way for grandparents to bond with their grandchildren. The memory book could include artwork created by grandchildren, letters sent between family members, recipe cards with favorite family recipes, and family birthdays.
An interview-style memory book, in which the grandkids ask their grandmother or grandfather questions, is a great idea as well. Questions for a grandparent’s memory book might include:
- What is your favorite childhood memory?
- Where did you grow up?
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
- Did you ever have a collection? What did you collect?
- Who did you look up to the most when you were a child?
- What traditions were passed down in your family?
- When did you meet your husband/wife? Where did you go on your first date?
- What’s the secret to a happy marriage?
- Where was the first house you bought?
- What’s the best vacation you’ve ever been on?
Retirement Memory Book Ideas
Looking for a special way to commemorate your friend or relative’s retirement? Retirement memory books are a meaningful keepsake that can be shared with family members and even passed down to future generations to help preserve history.
One of the simplest ways to layout your retirement memory book is in chronological order, telling the story of your friend or family member’s career from the first day to the day they hang up their hat.
First day of work photos, orientation papers, and even non-confidential employment records like their first name badge or the job ad to which they applied can create a beautiful timeline of all their achievements and contributions throughout their career. You might also choose to include quotes from coworkers or employees.
Scrapbooking Inspiration and Information
Creating a memory book for an older adult, yourself, your kids or your friends is such a fun activity that many people make more than one. Since people love scrapbooking and get hooked once they get started, the internet is full of scrapbooking blogs about making memories scrapbooking, scrapbooking inspiration and the scrapbooking process. Let’s look at a few that will inspire you on your journey to preserve your memories.
With more than 400 videos and thousands of posts, you’re sure to find some creative gems in Above Rubies Studio. Their site is chock full of freebies and several popular how-to videos. The designers have various Pinterest boards where you’ll find lots of ideas to use in your albums.
With a scrapbooking blog, classes, products and a gallery filled with ideas to assist you on your scrapbooking journey, scrapbook.com is a great resource for anyone who wants to make memories scrapbooking. In the blog, scrapbook.com features posts that are dedicated to their favorite layouts and give you a glimpse into what other scrapbookers are doing. Their Pinterest board provides lots of inspiration, as well.
The Scrapbook Circle, where several designers share their love of scrapbooking, is a great place to find new ideas. Be sure to check out their Pinterest boards, which have photos you can use for inspiration no matter what type of memory book theme you choose.
This blog is a visual delight. Maggie Holmes has combined her passion for recording memories and her love of photography. Her Pinterest board is a great place to check out design ideas.
We R Memory Keepers is a group of designers that offers a blog filled with ideas and a large shopping area filled with many great products. One of their best posts, covering the tab punch style, demonstrates a handy option for organizing many photos on one page. Their Pinterest board is filled with lots of inspirational pins.
Making Memories at Homestead at Hamilton
At Homestead at Hamilton, located in Mercer County, we know how important it is to make memories with friends and relatives. We also know it’s essential to stay engaged when you need to stay inside, whether you’re staying home because of current events like the coronavirus or because you enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle.
Anyone who lives at Homestead at Hamilton is sure to create lots of great memories that will fill a scrapbook. From our amenities and services to our programs and recreation, we help people achieve the retirement lifestyle they’ve earned. We offer scrapbooking and other activities for our residents, depending on their interests and what’s safe and healthy. If you have any questions, explore our senior living options or contact us for more information today!