"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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