MemoryBio Overview

MemoryBio was designed to provide a structure for connecting with a person who would prefer to reminisce using pictures and objects rather than by just using words. Through reminiscing, we will learn more about a person's life story which will lead to developing individualized Personal Comforts based on new information we gather.

MemoryBio contains 35 themes to be explored. These can be used by care partners (family members, volunteer interviewers, staff members in Life Enrichment, Activities, Nursing, Social Services, Therapy, or others) as they meet with MemoryBio participants on a daily or weekly basis as a structure for visiting. The themes are designed so they can be enjoyed by everyone participating; it is important to build friendship, connection, and closeness during the process. The structure of MemoryBio makes it possible to repeat the 35 themes over and over again varying your approach or activities each time that theme is explored. The themes are also designed with the idea of engaging family members, staff (in a community setting), volunteers, and youth in the MemoryBio process.

The autobiographical questions found on the pages of the MemoryBio Photo Album above the pictures vary. Some are open-ended questions. Some will result in a "yes" or "no" response. Some offer a choice of answers. These pictures and questions have been carefully chosen to be stimulating and to help the participant remember something from his or her past or present. Reminiscing is also a great way of giving the brain a good workout and it touches all dimensions of wellness—physical, social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, purposeful, and vocational.

Sometimes people may not have an answer or it does not appear like they are participating at all. It is still a good idea to ask the questions anyway as it is unclear what theme or topic may prompt a memory to come back. We won't know if we don't try to ask the questions or share something about that idea. Even if the participant doesn't share, he or she could be thinking of a special time or place and that's okay too.

Using Objects & Ideas

Objects and ideas associated with the themes and questions (pages 11-16) will give you and the participant the opportunity to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch a memory. Although we do not know exactly how the person may or may not connect with the object or the questions, we know that stimulating the person's memories can have a profound impact. Reminiscence has been found to lower depression, increase life satisfaction, and engage people with dementia or cognitive impairment in a very positive way. Therefore, it is important to be reminiscing regularly—this is not just a one-time activity.

Although reminiscing is something that many people do and it could be a regular activity, MemoryBio is special because the goal is to actually record what the participant answers when reminiscing. The themes have been designed to appeal to people of all different ages and backgrounds. In addition, it is our hope that we may gain new insight into childhood or adulthood experiences which can lead to the development of Personal Comforts that are specific to that person. For example, below is Kate's story and Bill's story.

Kate's Story

Kate grew up in Ohio. She always enjoyed the smell of her mother's bread baking and she has attended church regularly. Her favorite hymn is Amazing Grace. When she was a little girl, she and her siblings would gather buckeye nuts from trees. Her mother always had the children help with the dusting and other cleaning around the house. They would listen to Ohio State football games on the radio. She always enjoyed playing Yahtzee. She loved to dance to Big Band music during World War II. She collected dolls from all over the world.