Life Journey Albums bring the past to life for clients with dementia

Olwen with her life journey album

For many people suffering with dementia, the short-term memory is often greatly affected, whilst long-term memories can remain strong and intact. The dementia sufferer can feel much more confident recalling events from their distant past, such as school days, especially if the present makes little sense to them.

With this in mind, Crossroads Care in the Vale has launched the ‘Life Journey Album’, a book where clients with dementia can record their past, with guidance from their family carer. The idea is a simple one: an A5 ring binder and sheets of blank card, where the carer and dependent relative can paste photographs and other reminders, and write about family members, pets, holidays, hobbies, sports and significant events. It is a versatile document, and pages can be added, or removed if necessary.

Sue Phillips, a carer from Penarth, and her mum Olwen Davis, recently put together a Life Journey Album of Olwen’s life. Olwen thoroughly enjoys looking at the photographs in the book, in particular the pictures  of her dancing as a young girl. As Olwen spends much time enjoying looking through the album, husband Jim can take a break from his caring role and get on with tasks around the house.

The Life Journey Album can also be a useful document if a person with dementia attends a day centre for the first time, or needs to spend some time in hospital. The book can be used to record significant details about the person’s life, and their likes and dislikes. This enables staff at the day centre or on the hospital ward to learn more about the person with memory problems, and this in turn should enhance the care the person receives during their stay. In learning about the person with memory problems, the staff will hopefully recognise the person as a unique individual with specific needs.

Crossroads Care in the Vale is offering free Life Journey Album kits to any carers who would like to help their dependent relatives record their life stories. If you would like more information, please telephone Jo Hendry on (029) 2070 0057 (option 3).