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Ironwood Carnegie Library

How to Make Your Own Memory Kit

What is a Memory Kit?

Memory Kits are designed to offer engaging activities for individuals with dementia, which can be adjusted as abilities change. These kits aim to foster conversation and provide opportunities for meaningful interaction. They serve as valuable resources for homecare and respite workers, as well as for friends and family members.

You can tailor Memory Kits to revolve around various themes, such as movie stars, fashion, cooking, or cars. Any interest that is meaningful to the person. Each kit may include related books, objects, DVDs, and games that evoke memories. Alternatively, kits can consist of a diverse range of activities like brain teasers, word puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, dominos, or a deck of cards. The possibilities are endless!

Kits could contain:

puzzle pieces, scrabble titles, cards, record player

  • An adult picture or photo book
  • A jigsaw puzzle
  • A DVD of a television series
  • A game that can be enjoyed
  • A feature film that can be enjoyed by all ages
  • A book of short stories or poems
  • Trivia or interesting facts to start a discussion together

To start:

Select a container from items you have readily available, such as a shoebox, Tupperware, old purse, unused drawer, or reusable bag. Choose something that may hold personal significance for the person living with dementia and feel free to personalize it with decorations if desired.

Fill the container with items that hold meaning for the individual with dementia, considering their favorite hobbies, work-related items, special events, places they've visited or desired to visit, as well as photos, postcards, letters, or books.

Remember to adapt the contents of the memory kit over time to maintain interest and accommodate changes in the individual's abilities as dementia progresses. Be mindful of potential triggers for negative emotions or memories, such as avoiding including car keys if the person has recently lost their license or small objects if they tend to put things in their mouth.

Content Suggestions

baking supplies, chess pieces, gardening

You might find items around your home, or you can purchase them affordably at dollar stores, department stores, or online. Additionally, libraries offer a variety of resources like large print books, audio books, DVDs, CDs, and movies that can be borrowed. Song lists can be accessed on platforms such as YouTube, Spotify, or other online sources.

Here are some specific suggestions:

Jigsaw Puzzles: Opt for puzzles that are age-appropriate and personally appealing, with larger pieces for easier handling.

Games: Choose engaging and challenging games that can be adjusted based on abilities and preferences. Dollar stores offer options like large playing cards, dominoes, and wooden puzzles.

Word Puzzles: Look for word puzzle books with large font sizes and simpler word choices, such as Sudoku, Word Search, and Crosswords, available at dollar stores.

Reminiscing: Share stories and memories from the past to spark wonderful conversations and discussions.

Trivia: Use cards from old board games or search the internet for interesting facts to engage in trivia.

Conversation Starters: Utilize daily calendars with jokes or words, journals with prompts, or a box of conversation starters to initiate discussions.

Large Print Books and Short Stories: Enjoy reading with large print books, short stories, or poetry, including old favorites or "Chicken Soup" style books.

Audiobooks: Access audiobooks online or on CD at your local library for free. Consult with library staff for assistance.

Sing-along DVDs and Music: Enjoy sing-along DVDs and music, which can provide opportunities for relaxation, socialization, and recreation, enriching the human experience and often well-preserved as dementia progresses.

Theme ideas:



Postcards, photo album, guide book or DVD, coffee table book with pictures in a suitcase or travel bag


Wooden bird house from the dollar store, sandpaper and washable paints in a toolbox

Rummage Bag

Costume jewelry , shatter proof mirror, handkerchief, wallet with coins, cards, pictures in a purse


Coins, wrappers, ledger book in a metal cash box