Scrapbooking with Dementia

Scrapbook-Pages-300x225.jpgEven in this digital age, scrapbooking remains a popular activity, especially among seniors – and it can be both fun and a means of encouraging communication with someone with dementia. Caregivers, friends, and relatives may want to consider working on a scrapbooking project with a loved one who is on the dementia path; it may be beneficial to all involved.

Visual Assistance

Every person’s memory works in its own way, but often visual triggers can be among the most potent for accessing long-forgotten memories. This is one reason why keeping a scrapbook can sometimes help a person with dementia to recall events from their past (long ago or recent).

One thing to remember: Not every person with dementia will respond positively to a scrapbook – and even some who do may not always receive the idea well. As caregivers already know, if it isn’t going to work, don’t force it.


  • Start with what’s already put together. The best way to start a new scrapbook is to look through old ones. See if there are any scrapbooks or photo albums in the attic and begin by looking through these with your patient. See if they stir up any memories or bring about conversations.
  • Then start new. After exploring old scrapbooks, interest your loved one in starting a new one. This may be a mix of items from different time periods (including the present day), or it may be one which focuses on a certain era that may have meaning to your family member.
  • Go beyond photographs. Photos are great and should be included, but don’t limit yourself to pictures. Newspaper clippings, magazine articles, scraps of fabric, recipes, menus, drawings, and many other items may be meaningful – and may inspire a thought or memory from a person with dementia.
  • Take appropriate time. Don’t feel the need to rush through things. If a particular object in a scrapbook catches your relative’s attention but they can’t seem to quite place it, allow them time to puzzle it out. Sometimes nothing will come to them; other times something might.
  • Ask questions. If your loved one does not get agitated by questions, ask about each of the items. What did they like to eat at the restaurant in that picture? Was it cold when they took that ski trip? Sometimes it may be better to let the questions lead, e.g., “I wonder if Daddy wore that golf shirt a lot?” or “Do you suppose that lady had a dog?”
  • Write things down. When starting a new book, leave empty space on the pages. Use this space to write down memories or comments that come up in relation to items – and revisit those memories and comments the next time your loved one looks through the book.
Scrapbooking allows caregivers to spend some quality time with a loved one with dementia-and hopefully to have a little fun themselves while compiling and looking through these delightful books.​

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