Memory boxes have always been a way to collect mementos of the things we love most in our lives – ticket stubs to remember an experience, photos of loved ones, and even written text to remember a conversation. Anybody can create their own memory box during any point in their life. Over the years the idea of memory boxes has also been used by families and caregivers to help those with Alzheimer’s or dementia remember key moments in their life.
PCH Mutual Insurance Co., a RRG, is taking the memory box idea one step further. The Memory Box Initiative allows caregivers to capture memories of residents on note cards, save them in a designated box, and then share them with family members once the resident leaves the facility’s care.
How Does the Memory Box Initiative Work?
Insureds of PCH Mutual can opt into the program when they first become a member or when they renew an existing insurance policy. After opting in, PCH Mutual will send a Memory Box starter kit that includes boxes and note cards. Your role is simple – attach a name to each of the boxes and keep them in a convenient location so when the caregivers pass it they will think about the resident, pens and note cards should also be near and easily accessible by caregivers.
Now, let the caregivers continue to do what they do best, listen to and care for the residents. When the resident shares a past memory or story, the caregiver documents it on a card and slides it into the box. These boxes filled with treasured memories continue to be filled until the resident leaves your care and you pass it onto their family.
What are the Benefits?
This unique approach is truly an added value for the assisted living facilities that choose to participate. By actively participating in the Memory Box Initiative, participating adult residential care facilities will experience many benefits, including:
Being a caregiver is a critical but stressful role in an assisted living facility. By participating in the Memory Box Initiative, caregivers have a new task that focuses on more than medication or daily needs. It connects them with residents on a personal level and encourages conversation and questions from the caregiver, which keeps the resident socializing and improves their outlook and health.
When a resident leaves your care, it can be a difficult transition for their family. Depending on the reasons for leaving, there may potentially be hard feelings. Gifting them with a box of their loved one’s special memories allows them an opportunity to see through the eyes of another how much they enjoyed the resident and special moments the family may have missed. These kind and thoughtful jesters by the staff lets the family know just how much you and your staff valued the resident.
Consistently participating in this program could improve your reputation as more families talk about their positive experience and their gift of memories. It is hard for families to leave their loved ones with others, knowing you are doing everything to capture the residents’ happy and special moments assures the family that they not only chose the right facility for their loved one, but they now have memories they can share with you and your staff about the resident.