Creating a Memory Bank

Members article

By Jane Verity © Dementia Care International

Here are two practical and positive suggestions on how to provide comfort and ease distress when the person with dementia is missing you but you cannot be physically present.

You can make either an audio or video recording of yourself talking to the person. Here are some suggestions for topics that may work well.

  • Recall special events from the person’s childhood that you know are remembered and bring pleasure.
  • Remind the person of how they were able to cope and survive some of life’s special challenges and reinforce how proud you are and what a wonderful role model the person have always been for you.
  • Speak about some of the special things the person has done for you that made a big impression and created memories you’ll always treasure.

If you are making a recording for a parent, you might recall small things that you took for granted as a child but that now come to mind as precious events. These could include simple pleasures such as Sunday morning breakfasts when you ate soft boiled eggs in shells. Remember the details of how you had eaten yours;  turning it upside down and giving it to your parents who would cut off the top and  then give you joy by acting completely surprised. You would then all laugh together because you had tricked them again.

If you are making a recording for your spouse, you could reminisce over some of the treasured moments from your relationship and time together. Recall the small, special things that mean so much to you. Maybe think back to some of the fun-loving things you did when you first met and courted each other.

You could make a video recording that shows special events where you are both together. It is important that you appear in the video, as well as the person you are trying to console, because it is your presence that will provide the comfort he or she seeks.