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Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

Seniors create special boxes to help local Alzheimer's patients

Saturday, June 9, 2012

(Photo)
Several women at the Sikeston Oaks Center helped to created themed reminiscent boxes which will be used by patients in the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease. Ruth Bruce and Bert Bowman look through two of the boxes which were donated to the Sikeston Convalescent Center. Jill Bock, Staff
SIKESTON -- If you believe memories are precious, these gifts may be priceless.

"We have been making memory boxes for the nursing homes," said Lisa Hicks, director of the Sikeston OAKS Center. "We've been doing it for about the last month or so -- we're pretty excited about it."

On the outside they don't look like much more than a decorated shoebox. But then, a key doesn't usually look like much: it is what it can do that makes them special. And that's what a memory box is, Hicks said: a key to help to unlock their memories.

"It is for people with Alzheimer's. A lot of people call them reminiscence boxes," Hicks said. "For a person with early stages of Alzheimer's, it may help them relate, remember stories; it just gets them to talking."

The process of transforming ordinary shoes boxes into memory-triggering tools is done by clients who come to eat at the Sikeston OAKS Center.

"As I get older, I realize that could be me," said Joyce Hainz. "It didn't require me to do anything really physical so it was something I could do to help senior citizens."

Objects in each box are selected around a theme, according to Hicks, "like a kitchen box or a bird watcher's box."

A bird watching memory box, for example, may include a sun visor, a pair of binoculars and a map of possible locations to spot a bird of interest to a bird watcher, Hicks said.

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