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The Memory Box

The personalized Memory Box portrait, games and mementos keeps isolation and loneliness at bay with beautiful and meaningful activity.

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Who is your idea designed for and how does it better support family caregivers as they care for a loved one with dementia?

The Memory Box is designed to be co-created and used by caregivers and loved ones at any time during early to mid-stages (1-5) of disease and kept by the caregiver as a beautiful celebration of the individual NOT the patient. As social interactions and activity require more of our loved ones they retreat. Isolation, boredom and loneliness quickly settle in. But it can still be a magical time, where even complex things loved long ago are possible. The trick: putting these activities at hand.

The Memory Box includes a personalized portrait of your loved one capturing their unique spirit and story. Caregivers and care recipients can "create" the portrait together by recalling and documenting the individual's life, hobbies, skills and experiences. Ideally, this is done through stories, written or recorded, but can also be created with lists, snippets of memory, photographs. 

Creating the portrait together provides an intimate connection and hours of activity between family members and their loved one. Capturing, and even curating, stories can be spread over days, weeks or even months. It can be done during meals, while sitting on a park bench, taking a walk or a drive or at family gatherings. Really almost anywhere that the spirit strikes. Although the amount of content ultimately to be submitted will need to be limited to a set number of pages, images, minutes, what's captured can be a dynamic album of life.

Using the submitted material, the Memory Box team works with artists to create a beautiful portrait of the individual with images that recall their life. The team also pull together a small box of activities that can be used by family, paid caregivers and visitors to keep everyone engaged.

Unlike the typical lists of activities for dementia patients, which seem to assume loss of memory and ability literally makes patients just like our children, the Memory Box recognizes them as unique individuals with interests, minds and emotions shaped by their life experience. 

With the Memory Box you can discover the joyful mystery of the brain: your loved one may not recall your name but they might still play a killer game of chess!


What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Working with local artists, we can create first boxes with caregivers and their loved one then solicit feedback from the family caregiver, care recipient and visitors.

What skills, input, or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Ideas on how to scale.

How long has your idea existed?

  • 0-3 months

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm

Tell us about your work experience:

Submitted out of a brainstorming with members of Ossining Innovates

This inspired (1)

People are for people


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