How do I make a memory board for Alzheimer's patients

I want to make a board for my mom, she has Alzheimer's and is in LTC facility. She get a agitated every evening, I need a board to help keep her busy. ANY SUGGESTIONS icon

  13 answers
  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Aug 24, 2020

    Hello Corina,

    Getting Agitated in the evenings has something to do with lower natural light levels and is a known feature. It might be an idea to give her a book she can flick through (plastic flip file) which could be changed or added to as required. Start with pictures of her parents and siblings. Home/ School, Holidays etc. and build to the current day eg: Cousins, Work or hobbies, Boyfriend/husband, Wedding photos, Parties, Children, Family photo's. Build it so she has her life in the book "This is Your Life" might be a good title for it! Add to it as often as you can, keeping her up to date on what is happening in the family. Best wishes to You and Mum.....

  • Oliva Oliva on Aug 24, 2020

    Hi, Corina,

    Can your Mother recognize people and objects from pictures? As the condition progresses, she may lose the ability to associate a 2 dimensional picture with a 3 dimensional person/object. This is why televisions are often a waste in many advanced Alzheimer's cases. Your Mother may also see an item, but verbalize it as something far different. This can also affect her reading accuracy, if you choose to label photos.

    Her distant memory may be much more accurate than that for recent events/people, so you may have to determine whether photos of these past events will comfort her or add to her agitation. Make the photos sufficiently large for her visual needs. Swatches of fabric from old dresses/household items may bring back memories and elicit conversation. Saved cuttings of hair from her children may be helpful, or make her sad. Photos from your childhood/family events may please her or frustrate her.

    Is your Mom agaitated in the evening due to changes in her routine, medications, lighting, noises, roomates/caregivers? You'll need to have the answers to these questions before proceeding with your board. You may find that a DVD may be more helpful, if that's an option, keeping in mind that videos of rapidly changing scenes tend to irritate some people because they cannot rapidly process what they are viewing. What music does she enjoy? Did she enjoy being outdoors, certain neighbors/friends, sewing, Church activities?

    Physical activity is important and should be encouraged as much as possible. Some facilities strung lower level clotheslines upon which supervised patients could hang dish towels, pillowcases, etc., of importance to them.

    You need to evaluate a number of issues here before proceeding, to be most effective.

    • See 1 previous
    • Oliva Oliva on Aug 25, 2020

      Hi, Corina, install some cut pool noodles or install some slit foam on the bedrails and chair to reduce potential for injury, if this continues. The LTC center where she resides should have done this, already. Insist the behavior be documented in her chart, as well as corrective actions. Make it clear that you want ready access to the chart, if you have guardianship, so you have first hand knowledge of all aspects of her care.

      If your Mom has a phone at her bedside, you might try calling her prior to bedtime, to ease her anxieties. The board is a good idea, if used regularly, and updated as needed. Your Mom may even share photos with staff or other patients, for social interaction. If your mother can be outside, short trips may help her, but note that as this progresses, some patients become fearful of movement beyond a slow pace. They can perceive dark lines on the floor as a hole, or feel planes could fall from the sky.

      The disease is very debiliating, and extremely stressful for family members. I sincerely wish you great strength and patience. Your kindness will go a long way.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Aug 24, 2020

    I’m not sure about a board but my mil enjoys jigsaw puzzles and g th year are good for Alzheimer’s patients. I also did a French board with pictures of her family over the years. It’s really tough since we can’t visit. We are supposed to be able to do a 20 minute visit soon, two people at a time. It’s a horrible disease and Covid has made it worse

    • Corina Roberts Lilly Corina Roberts Lilly on Aug 24, 2020

      Yes it is a terrible disease and heartbreaking as well. We are now allowed to visit but only 2 per day, I can stay as long as I like, thank God. Since this lockdown, I've noticed a big change in mom. She doesn't know anyone and makes no sense when she says something, no more carrying on a conversation with her. I blame all of this on Covid. People with this disease need interactions with family or friends daily because they forget you so easy.

      My son made me a t-shirt which reads...

      The hardest thing is watching someone you love forget they love you. 😢

      Hugs to you and your mom 🙂

  • Holly Lengner - Lost Mom Holly Lengner - Lost Mom on Aug 24, 2020

    You could always give her pictures and ask her if she could help you organize them and/or put them in a photo album. It might keep her busy and might make her happy to see faces she loves... even if she can't always remember. We went through this with my Great Grandma a couple years ago so I know how difficult it can be.

    There are lots of busy board ideas here:

  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Aug 24, 2020

    Alzheimer websites could give you ideas.

  • Maura White Maura White on Aug 24, 2020

    Is she agitated because she's bored or doesn't know where she is or what is going on? Do you want the board to have activities on it, or just pictures of family to help her remember who everyone is?? Is there a topic she enjoys talking about that you could make a collage of pictures of that thing that she would enjoy looking at?

  • Mogie Mogie on Aug 24, 2020

    I got a old timers clock for my dad. It displays the date, day of the week and even period of the day (like pre dawn ). It is very settling to have all current info at hand. I know I even forget what day of the week it is sometimes.

    We also use led night lights to make sure the way to the restroom is lighted. Found it helpful to put a night light in the bathroom too.

  • Janice Janice on Aug 24, 2020

    A memory board should be kept rather simple so as not to cause agitation. As one who has dealt with this problem in our family it's imperative to learn as much as you can about the disease. There are often times of great memory recall and others where this isn't the case. I think the clock suggessted earlier is a wonderul idea. In addition to a memory in pictures, a few simple sayings included might be comforting (e.g. YOU ARE LOVED,). We learned early on it is better to not correct the statements made and be patient if your loved one keeps asking the same questions multiple times.

    • See 2 previous
    • Oliva Oliva on Aug 26, 2020

      Hi, Corina,

      Have you considered installing a "nanny cam" or similar device to see what your Mom is doing in the evening, in her room? I understand this may or may not be practicable if she shares a room, or if your area forbids the use of cameras. If pool noodles on her bed rails are not an option, the facility should have bed rail pads.

  • Unexpected Elegance Unexpected Elegance on Aug 24, 2020

    There is good information here:

    I hope it helps. Best wishes.

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Aug 30, 2020

    Get a oak tag paper or a card board and add your pictures and stuff to the board

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Aug 30, 2020

    Use cardboard or oak tag or a dry erase board put pictures of her her children grandkids songs she likes pictures of animals holidays