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How to Provide Reminiscing Activities for
Your Residents With Dementia

Use memory boxes (plastic containers) that contain everyday items to jumpstart a discussion with your residents. Here are a few memory box ideas to get you started:

  • Baking/Cooking: Provide small utensils like a whisk and wooden spoon, as well as a variety of cookie cutters. Add in pot holders and an apron to wear. Use a few spices to pass around for residents to smell. If available, include a small cookbook to reminisce about favorite recipes.
  • Military: Include a military medal and dog tag for residents to hold. Download an old draft card and an old military poster to spark a conversation about being drafted. Add in a camouflaged item and a picture of a soldier.
  • Office: Supply a small container of paper clips and rubber bands, a stapler, and a writing pen. Use a necktie to start a conversation about getting dressed in the morning for work. Include a notebook and calculator for residents to demonstrate how to use.
  • Carpentry: Use a tape measure to help residents take measurements. Provide a pencil and a ruler to mark a line, and include a small toolbox to encourage residents to name its contents, like wrench, screwdriver, and screws.
  • Baby: Include a few baby clothes and a baby blanket for residents to feel. Use the noise of a rattle to bring back memories. In addition, include a baby doll and diaper for residents to show you how to change a baby. Use a baby bottle and pacifier for residents to demonstrate feeding.
  • Wedding: Provide a bow tie and a string of pearls to start a discussion with your residents about their wedding day. Include a garter and a wedding topper to discuss their wedding reception.
  • Jewelry: Supply a variety of colorful rings for the residents to try on. Include a necklace and a bracelet for residents to reminisce about the jewelry gifts they have received over the years. Use sparkly hair pins, earrings, and brooches to catch the eye of residents.
  • Vacation: Download a passport entry to chit chat about world travels. Include a pair of sunglasses for residents to try on. Add in a few postcards from popular American cities, as well a luggage tag.
  • Table Games: Recall the fun of playing Friday night poker or playing with a bridge club by using tokens from popular games. Add in a few poker chips and dominoes for residents to show how to use them. Use a deck of cards for residents to deal to one another. Include a small pad of paper and pencil for residents to demonstrate how to keep score.
  • Sewing: Supply a variety of colored thread for residents to reminisce about their sewing days. Use a thimble and pin cushion for demonstrations. Include a sewing pattern and ask residents to help you read it.
  • Gardening: Use a few seed packets featuring popular flower seeds. Include a set of garden gloves for residents to try on. Hand over a trowel for residents to show how to use.

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