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Memory Boxes for Assisted Living Residents

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Memory Boxes Help Residents With Memory Impairments or Confusion 
Assisted Living Directory iconSummary: Memory Boxes can help confused or disoriented residents to find their room or apartment, and can cut down on other behavioral issues. Our site visitors have also chimed in with some of their great tips and suggestions on how to make memory boxes!
Written By: - Founder/Editor for Assisted Living Directory

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It has happened to all of us - perhaps driving around a big city, or walking through a shopping mall - the feeling of disorientation or of being lost. There is that moment that nothing looks familiar, and the feeling of confusion and helplessness sets in.

[Video] How To Create A Memory Box Simply & Easily
Video Produced by Assisted Living Directory
Perhaps the easist way to create a memory box for an assisted living resident with Alzheimer's or other memory impairments.

Fortunately for most of us, we eventually see a landmark, or a sign, or even an intersection that we have been to before that will help to guide us and extinguish the moment of panic or confusion.

Imagine this scenario playing out inside your home - a place that is where you likely spend most of your time. It may sound far-fetched to get lost or confused in your own home, but unfortunately, for many residents of assisted living facilities and other care environments who suffer from memory impairments such as Alzheimer's disease, it can happen often, if not daily.

A great tool that facilities and care homes can use to help memory-impaired residents "re-orient" themselves to their surroundings, and keep them from forgetting which room or apartment is theirs - is a "memory box" or as they are sometimes called "locator boxes."

There is nothing elaborate about a memory box, and they are fairly easy to create and implement into your home. Basically, they are a box, or display case that is placed right outside a resident's room. Usually, these are kept at eye-level. This box is filled with items that the resident identifies with - personal items to help "jog" their memory. Items can include:

Old photographs of family, friends, grandchildren or other loved ones
A favorite memento
Identification cards
A newsletter from where they used to work
A photo or small painting of the town that they grew up in

Of course, if there is anything of value in the box (we recommend against that), make sure it is a locking box, and that someone trustworthy has the key or combination. Most items that can be placed in a memory box can be useful even if they don't have much monetary value.Memory Box

Using a memory box can drastically reduce residents getting lost within the facility, and can also cut down on wandering and other behavioral problems associated with memory impairment.

Memory boxes can be created by a local carpenter, or you can possibly find something that would work in a used furniture shop, or antique store. A wooden display case that might normally hold nice glassware would work well for this purpose.

If you want your loved one's facility to use a memory box - make sure to ask permission first, since this would be an addition most likely in a common area of the facility, and thus would need approval first.

Learn more:

5 Reasons To Make a Memory Box for a Senior or Alzheimer's Patient

- by the staff at Assisted Living Directory

Responses to this article:

Dave Wrote:
A facility owner told me recently that you have to be careful with memory boxes since if they have very personal or valuable items in them they could easily be stolen by staff or other residents.
21 December 2016 at 11:32 am

Stephen Wrote:
One of the best things that a memory box can do is to prompt conversation. Often times long-ago memories come back with a memory box and encourage words and verbal interactions. I've seen it before at the facilities and homes I have worked in over the years.
2 December 2014 at 4:32 pm

Assisted Living Directory Wrote:
Jenny, awesome idea and tip on making memory boxes. Do you have a facility that you work at, or how did you learn this? Curious!
18 October 2012 at 9:36 am

Jenny Wrote:
We took shoe boxes, covered with wrapping paper, and have started creating memory boxes. They are easily opened by residents, non-breakable, and inexpensive. They work great! Jenny

18 October 2012 at 9:33 am

Mitchell Wrote:
Is there anywhere online that one can purchase one of these memory boxes - meaning, is there a company that produces these specifically for the purpose intended on this page? Just curious!
8 November 2011 at 9:13 am

Patty Wrote:
This is an incredible idea and I wish you all many blessings in this endeavor....Right now I am shopping around for my own memory box to fill up. This 16th of August marks the 2nd anniversary of my son's suicide....He was only 22. I have gathered some items that represent him to me...Things like this are always special so keep up the good work and God bless. Patty
2 July 2009 at 11:54 pm

Doug Wrote:
We are a manufacturer of memory boxes and have sold multiple units to several assisted living facilities. Please check out our display gallery on our website. References available. Doug
18 June 2009 at 1:18 pm

Ronnie Wrote:
do you have a resource for purchasing memory boxes, we're a new facility in New Braunfels, Texas
18 June 2009 at 1:18 pm

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