Home Instead Blog

How to Create and Use the Rummage Box
Sep 09, 2013

People with dementia often use experiences from the past to make sense of the present. And accompanying that with the reality that a person with dementia can no longer store new information efficiently, gathering stories and information from your loved one’s past helps to carry out this approach. By knowing and using the information, it will help you create meaningful activities, and provide personalised care.

Rummage Box

The rummage box is another means of tapping into memories  from the past and helps people with dementia feel empowered and secure in familiarity. It is about reminiscence. The rummage box can be used as an activity, as a distraction technique and therapeutically as a reminiscence tool. It can be made of a shoe box, a biscuit tin, a drawer, press or even a room.

How to Create and Use the Rummage Box

To direct the person’s attention to the rummage box you must first get a photograph that they like and recognise as themselves. As the person may have little short term memory this usually involves using a photograph of them when they were in their 20’s,30’s or 40’s. Enlarge the photo, laminate it and tape it to the front of the box. The box should be filled with memorabilia to remind them of hobbies and activities they enjoyed when they were younger.

Other examples of rummage box items include:

• Pictures or photographs of holidays or days/nights out.

• Objects they used to enjoy such as wool for knitting, oldcameras and DVDs of their favourite films from when they were younger.

• Old objects or tools they used to work with.

“My dad loved to golf but was unable to use normal golfclubs

as his coordination was affected. I bought him small plastic

indoor golf clubs which he thoroughly enjoyed instead”

Andrea, Dublin 14

“My mum loved horses but a horse was not going to be an

option. I discovered that she also loved stuffed animalsthat

appeared life like as she was able to groom them.”

Jane, Waterford