Alzheimer's and memories: Use mementos as cues

Memories can be preserved in many ways, from scrapbooks to recorded interviews. Here's help documenting your loved one's life story. By Mayo Clinic Staff

Life is like a tapestry, woven from memories of people and events. Your individual tapestry reminds you of who you are, where you've been and what you've done. Sadly, Alzheimer's disease gradually takes the memories that make up a person's tapestry. If you're caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer's, you can help by creating a tangible repository of memories for your loved one.

Store memories externally

"Caregivers become the memory for a loved one who has Alzheimer's disease," says Glenn E. Smith, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. "By gathering memories, you can bring important events and experiences from your loved one's past into the present. You're the link to his or her life history."

Memories can be preserved in many ways. You can:

  • Display photos from your loved one's childhood
  • Write your loved one's stories in a journal
  • Create a scrapbook with photos or other mementos, such as newspaper clippings, letters and postcards, greeting cards, sketches, poetry, and musical verses
  • Store mementos in a special box or chest
  • Make a video or audio recording of personal stories
Oct. 04, 2011 See more In-depth