Making memory boxes with older adults

memory boxes

This is a lovely, creative activity to do with an elderly relative, or with your residents if you are in a care home. It can help them store special memories and precious items that they cherish so they can remember them and/or pass them on to family, friends or loved ones.

What would you put in a memory box?

First, you need to find a container to hold the fond memories in – you could use a shoebox, old gift box or biscuit tin as they are sturdy and will hold documents and mementoes. The items you put into the box are entirely up to the individual and can help as a reminder to happy times that can offer comfort.

Suggestions for what you could put in the memory box are:

  • Photographs
  • Newspaper cuttings
  • Letters/postcards
  • CD of favourite music
  • CD of recorded messages
  • Items, or images of items, relating to previous career (e.g. name badges, certificates, uniform)
  • Mementos and souvenirs
  • Items, or images of items, relating to a hobbies/games
  • Bar of soap or perfume (for favourite scent)
  • Favourite foods such as biscuits or sweets (for memorable tastes)

You may decide to create your memories digitally instead of physically (in a box), therefore you could save lots of memories onto a digital USB memory stick.

Why is a memory box important?

Creating a memory box can be an emotional experience because you are creating it to leave behind with loved ones when you have gone, or you are a person with dementia and you are starting to come to terms with this diagnosis and your memory loss.

These keepsakes are important because they can generate happy memories for the owner that they want to remember and pass on. It helps give others insight into the history of that person’s life story and can trigger precious memories of childhood/youth. This is one of those meaningful activities that can be a source of pleasure and encouragement and can give a sense of achievement and closure when completed.

Carers of people who want to create a memory box should offer help and support to someone as it can be overwhelming and cause feelings of anxiety at times. This activity should have a positive impact on someone’s mental health so be mindful and take plenty of time to collate these precious memories.

For more details about memory boxes please check out these websites:

For other art and crafts activities please check out our blog here: