Making Scrapbooks and Memory Books for Graduations, Events and/or Alzheimer’s and Dementia — I


One of the things WordPress tells us bloggers is the search string users used to find our blog post. And one of the most common questions has to do with making memory books or scrap books for dementia or other events.

I will write about this topic in two parts. First – why make scrapbooks and memory books? And in a later post, I will write about how to make scrapbooks and memory books.

Scrapbooking is a tradition that goes back a hundred years or more. Young girls and women often kept a scrap book of ephemera to remember important events in their lives. My mother had scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings, birth announcements, greeting cards, report cards and many other mementos of her life.

Following that tradition, I also kept scrapbooks from when I was a teenager and young mother right through my divorce and after. These scrapbooks were kept in traditional paper books and the mementos were attached with glue or tape.

In the early 1990’s companies started to come out with products to make scrapbooking more archival. One could buy acid free products such as papers, pens, photo corners, etc. in order to preserve our memories without destroying them with destructive products.

During this time period, I removed all of the photographs and paper clippings from the so-called “magnetic albums” which did not preserve photos with magnetism at all. These albums contained an adhesive that destroyed the photos by permanently gluing them to the page. Acid ate at the photos as well and they began to deteriorate.

I moved all of my pictures and scraps to acid free archival sleeves to maintain them in albums while protecting them from the elements. My daughters and I all spent a lot of time making memory books and writing (journaling) about the events shown in the photographs.

In addition, we had developed the habit of obtaining copies of our photos in triplicate so we could both keep and share them. Not only was this expensive, but it took a lot of storage space to keep them all. I enjoyed making these books but soon realized they took a lot more space on my shelves than traditional photo books.

Around this time photographic web sites such as the Kodak Gallery (now defunct) and Shutterfly appeared. These companies made it easy for the user to create digital photo albums with journaling to describe the events. My whole family eventually gravitated over to the digital albums because they were easy to create and share.

Types of Scrapbooks and Memory Books

Often we make such scrapbooks prospectively. These scrap books, photo books, etc. were created to preserve photos and stories about current events as they occurred. My children created memory books about the past year or a special event and gave them as gifts to me and others.

I made some to commemorate specific occasions such as my parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary and my 60th Birthday celebration. I made some to document trips I took using digital technology to create books to keep and show my friends.

I made some scrapbooks retrospectively to preserve the memories of a specific time or place. I made scrapbooks of my children’s school years that were given to each of them when they graduated from high school.

I had saved their best papers, photographs and stories in a folder (one for each child) without much of a plan about what I would do with them. Then as the oldest prepared to graduate from high school, I decided to make a memory book of all her school years. This was among her favorite graduation gifts and all of my other children then expected me to make similar scrapbooks for them also.

It wasn’t until mom began having memory problems that I realized how scrapbooks and memory books could help mom remember the people and events of the past. Mom kept asking for pictures of my children and for me to remind her of my grandchildren’s names and how they fit into the family structure.

I made calendars with family pictures, photo plates to commemorate special wedding anniversaries, family reunions and other events. One Christmas I made mom a book of pictures of my children and grandchildren, grouped by family to help her remember names and faces.

After mom passed away, I made a book of pictures from mom’s life and a calendar of pictures of mom with her grandchildren. These were gifts to dad for his birthday and Christmas. He spent hours every day looking at the pictures of mom. It helped him with his grief to be able to look at these pictures.

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About letstalkaboutfamily

I am a retired and was the primary caregiver for both my parents before they passed. I have children and grandchildren. This blog is an attempt to connect with other caregivers and share ideas and experiences. I hope you will let me know what worked for you if you had an experience similar to mine. The main issues I am going to talk about are elder care, death and dying, assisted living, family relationships and hoarders and hoarding. Other topics will come up as I address the issues and my relationship with other family members.
This entry was posted in Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia, Eldercare, Memories, Memory Books, Preserving Photographs and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Making Scrapbooks and Memory Books for Graduations, Events and/or Alzheimer’s and Dementia — I

  1. terry1954 says:

    that is something I have never done. I have photos galore in my home. my g/f does it extensively. she is such an awesome artist. what a wonderful way to treasure the days before

    • Yes. I have always kept my photos in albums. But my oldest daughter had boxes of pictures before she started scrapbooking. Be spent a day just getting them organized by year and month! It is fun to look through mom’s old scrapbooks. I want to update them digitally because the old newspaper clippings are yellowed and deteriorating.

  2. jmgoyder says:

    Definitely on my to-do list!

  3. camsgranny says:

    I’ve done the calenders of family members with each month dedicated to whoever’s birthday/wedding anniversary/ ect… and the kids all loved them, it also helped all of us to keep track of our growing family’s special dates. I’m working on one for my Dad, about my Mom.

  4. Kate Swaffer says:

    Lovely blog post with good information. Thank you.
    I’ve been rather slack with photos, not so much taking them, but cataloguing them! My DH is now slowly digitising them, so at least they are on file.
    I wish I had done it much sooner, as now, sometimes, I can’t remember who someone is, or where we’ve been…

    • I found the same thing with my early photos. I had them in albums, but didn’t write where they were taken or who all the people were. Now I use a Pigma pen which is photo safe and write a date and some information on the back of the photos as soon as I get them back from the processor. Now usually I just make copies of my favorite pictures and leave the rest as digital files, but I do try to put them in folders by date and topic.

  5. Kathy says:

    These scrapbooks are a wonderful idea. Someday, when I find the time, I’d love to make scrapbooks for my kids of their grandmother and the times they spent with her. It still hurts thinking about all she’s missed in the kids’ lives over the past 4+ years. I know she is there is spirit, but it’s just not the same. Please check this out when you get a chance (http://peace4me521.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/super-sweet-blogging-award/). Thanks again!

  6. Great info. I’d love to remind people that http://www.SaveEveryStep.com is an online digital ‘scrapbook’, designed specifically to enable families to capture and preserve their life memories, in the order they happen, with the words and pictures side by side. Please check it out….

  7. Pingback: How to Make Scrapbooks and Memory Books — 2 | Let's Talk About Family

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