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As aged care courses show, dementia is a degenerative condition that slowly robs people of their memories and who they are. Rather than being a specific disease, dementia is a term that covers a range of issues relating to memory loss and impaired thinking. Slowly but surely, the condition interferes with more and more of their everyday lives, leaving them needing constant care. 

Why is Dementia Increasing In Australia?

Well, rather than dementia becoming more widespread, it's more to do with age. The average age of Australians is creeping up year on year, with people living almost 3 years longer than they did just 20 years ago! Currently, 1 in 14 people over 65 have dementia - a ratio that hasn't changed much over the last 2 decades. The thing is, the population has increased by 6 million - and therein lies the problem. 

What Is A Memory Book For Dementia?

What we're looking at in this article is the memory book - something that's also referred to as an 'orientation' or 'reminiscence' book. Typically, it's a book that contains mementoes and photographs from the person's life. It's created to help loved ones with dementia make a connection, remember something meaningful and make sense of their surroundings. 

Online learning in aged care shows us that memory books offer a range of benefits:

  • Encourages validation and self-esteem
  • Highlights their identity and purpose
  • Evokes emotions that can lead to further recall
  • Provides a feeling of security in unfamiliar surroundings
  • Allows them to remember their loved ones better
  • Offers a bridge to the past

There are no hard and fast rules on how they’re made, and they can be either physical or digital - that’s entirely up to you. So, how do you go about making one? 

How To Make A Memory Book 

You can go and buy a ready-made, templated option online, but it’s just as easy to repurpose an exercise book that’s likely to be cheaper. Once you’ve sourced the book you’re going to use, you then have to think about what to put in it. Let’s have a look at a few of the things you might consider including. 

  • Their daily routine (detailing their waking, outdoor time, meals etc.)
  • Items relating to their favourite pastimes/hobbies
  • Their husband/wife, wedding pictures & memories
  • Favourite foods & drink you know they love
  • Pictures of special events & holidays
  • Names of brothers and sisters
  • Medications & stated dosages
  • Pictures of previous homes
  • Childhood pictures 

This list is as long as you want it to be, as you can include anything that you feel might provoke a positive response or memory. Simply think about everything they hold dear, and you’ll get a good idea of what you should include inside. Also, don’t forget to include written descriptions of what each photograph relates to, assisting the process. 

What You Should Avoid When Creating A Memory Book

Aged care courses also teach us that you need to be careful about what you introduce to someone in their memory book and how you introduce it. For instance, don't flat out ask, "do you remember now?" because if they don't and can see from you that they clearly should, it could lead to confusion or sadness that they've lost an important memory.

Instead, let them read through at their own pace and wait for them to tell you what they remember. If you know for a fact they've misremembered certain aspects, try not to correct or dismiss what they say. 

Quizzing your loved one with dementia or finishing their sentences in this kind of scenario can be easy to do, but you have to avoid it, as it can cause upset. 

OCA Online Learning - Your Key To An Aged Care Career

Dementia care is just one part of the Australian aged care industry that offers a lot to ambitious professionals. At OCA, our video-based, CPD-accredited short courses online represent the easiest way to get the skills you need for a career change into aged care or to simply provide better care to your loved one. Courses like those in our Job Ready Aged Care Bundle are mentally stimulating, offering a next-level learning experience.

You can see exactly why our students see ours as the best online courses Australia has to offer by watching our Student Study Demo or by visiting us today at www.onlinecoursesaustralia.edu.au. There you'll discover more about our flexible payment plans, as well as the fact that every course in our library (one that spans 20 different sectors) comes with 1-to-1 mentoring.

Alternatively, if you'd like to speak to us about anything else, just give us a call at 1300 611 404 or send us an email at support@onlinecourses.com.au. As soon as we hear from you, we'll get back to you without delay!


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