Ideas to help a person with dementia to record their stories

Different ways you can record and share memories, whether in writing, sound or video.

Setting down and sharing our stories is a powerful way for us to express ourselves. For a person with dementia especially, recording the things they’ve done and experienced can help communication and improve self-esteem. 

Sharing favourite memories or keeping a diary can help someone reflect on their life, including friends, family, work, achievements, hobbies and holidays.

Many children and other younger relatives enjoy hearing and reading about these too.

Two people talking

Recording 

You can record someone talking about their life using a microphone, digital video camera or webcam. Many computers, tablets and smartphones come with recording software. There are also recording apps such as Audacity that are free to download.

Through Dementia Diaries, people with dementia record audio diaries using their phone and then share them online. Visit their website to find out how and to listen to other people’s diary entries. 

People who enjoy writing may prefer to keep a journal or to write stories about their past instead.

Archiving 

Films, tapes and other old recordings can be converted into digital files so they’re easier to store, share and enjoy.

For example, a USB cassette converter can be plugged into a computer to convert old tape recordings. These often come with their own software, but you can also use an app like Audacity to edit and organise digital files.

You can scan old photos, negatives or slides into the computer too. Apps such as EZYscan, which is free to download, help you to do this.

If converting recordings or photos is difficult, you could contact a professional conversion or photo scanning service. 

Storing and sharing 

Digital files can be stored and shared in many ways. For example, they can be uploaded to the Cloud for safekeeping, or shared on social media such as WhatsApp or Facebook. 

Favourite photos can be displayed in a digital album or even in a ‘talking’ one, where you can hear pre-recorded messages alongside each picture. An app like GreyMatters can help to create a digital life story book using video clips, photos and text. 

Of course, you don’t have to use digital files – a person might prefer making a scrapbook with photos, postcards or mementoes. This could be split by theme and include notes about people, events and activities. 

Over to you

Have you recorded your stories or helped someone with theirs? Do you have any tips about making, storing or sharing them?

Email us your ideas (and any pictures!) by 4 May 2021

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Dementia together magazine: Apr/May 21

Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
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Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
Subscribe now

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