Reminiscence can help to promote wellbeing, reduce stress and anxiety, as well as encourage participation and social interaction. By using a wide range of resources to help trigger memories, such as objects, pictures, sounds and smells, this can help people feel comfortable, orientated and enable them to feel connected to their self identity.
Creating a Memory Box together is a simple activity that can stimulate your relative, friend or person you are caring for to actively recount their own memories.
If you can’t make a physical Memory Box with them in person, try doing it using our website. Click ‘Favourite’ next to the items you want in your virtual Memory Box and they will be saved in your ‘Favourite Items’ section to come back and view again and again.
Before you begin, you may want to think of special shared memories and stories you want to relive, gather photos and items that you think will enhance the experience of creating this Memory Box together. These items and thoughts will be ready to hand when you begin your Memory Box activity together and will help the exercise flow naturally.
When making a physical Memory Box, you can store your items in anything you like – a shoe box, tool box, tin, handbag or hatbox for example. If you are using a plain box or tin, one of your first activities could be to decorate the box together with images and paper chosen by the owner of the box to personalise it and help create a stronger connection.
There is no right or wrong when deciding what to put in your Memory Box – it is completely personal. If an item brings joy or evokes a memory, then reminiscent conversation will follow!
When adding personal items, think about attaching a memory card with it. For example, a piece of jewellery may have associated memories of going dancing, or a small toy car could have been a childhood favourite. By adding these written memories, it helps anyone to engage instantly and appropriately when looking at the Memory Box, promoting communication and social interaction.
If you are using our website to create your Memory Box, you can leave comments on any of the items, sharing your stories and memories of it. Do remember that these are public posts, so anyone looking at this item online can see your comments too.
Including different senses can be a great way to stimulate memories.
This is the main sense you will be using, looking at any of the objects and images you have chosen for your Box. Think about using large fonts and images to help people view the contents easier.
This sense helps us to connect to objects and people. For example, a rough seashell is very tactile and it is fun to listen to the sea inside!
Using sound in the form of music or sound effects can transport us to a different time in our memories. The sounds of birds could take us back to a day in the garden, or a certain song could relate to a happy memory. You could listen to some favourite music as you build your Memory Box. Shared meaningful songs could be accompanied with a short story telling card, to help promote further conversation in the future, or maybe a memory about seeing a favourite band! You may also wish to record a personal message to include in the box, saved on a USB.
Everyone has smells they like and dislike – this is very personal to an individual. You could include a favourite perfume or aftershave for example, teamed with photos of either the person or generic images of fashion through the eras that the Memory Box owner might have worn. We all love to see the outfits we used to wear! Hair rollers or an old tin of hair cream could also be popped in for memories of getting ‘dressed up’.
Freshly cut grass and baking smells are also often popular and evoke fond memories.
If you are building your Memory Box online using our website, while you can’t include touch or smell, you can still use these as discussion prompts when looking through your items. For example,
What texture do you think that item has – is it rough or smooth?
I recall the smell of the freshly cut grass when my Dad mowed the lawn at the weekends.
We hope you enjoy creating your Memory Box together.
Remember, the most important part is to have fun! Creating your Memory Box can stimulate great conversation and sharing memories together.
Lucky horseshoes, these are given as gifts to brides on their wedding day.