Scrapbooking can be a beneficial activity for care home residents for several reasons and in this month’s Activity of the Month we share how.

The hobbies many seniors participate in have the potential to boost physical, mental, and emotional health. Something as simple as creating a scrapbook filled with fond memories can cover all of these bases which is why scrapbooking is a great and meaningful activity to introduce in care homes for the elderly, and it offers numerous benefits for residents.

Cognitive stimulation is just one of the pros the activity can initiate. Scrapbooking involves various cognitive skills, such as memory recall, creativity, and problem-solving and therefore engaging in these activities can help residents maintain or improve their cognitive function.

Scrapbooking is versatile in the sense that it can be introduced as both a solo or group activity. When residents choose to scrapbook on their own it can be great for mindfulness and to offer a sense of purpose, whilst introducing scrapbooking as a group can provide fantastic social interaction within the home. When engaging as part of a group, the activity can encourage residents to converse, share stories, and work together on projects. This social engagement can help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Scrapbooking is also great for emotional expression as it allows residents to express their feelings and memories through pictures, words, and artwork. It can be a therapeutic outlet for processing feelings and reminiscing about the past, something which some residents may struggle with.

When moving into a care home, it’s common for residents to become disoriented and feel as though they have lost a sense of purpose. Activities in general can really help to reinvigorate this purpose but those which are creative, such as the task of creating a scrapbook personal to them can offer that sense of purpose and accomplishment. Completing a scrapbook can also boost self-esteem and provide a tangible result of their efforts.

In curating the scrapbook itself it can act as reminiscence therapy for residents as it often involves going through old photographs and mementos, which can trigger memories and spark conversations about the past. This reminiscence therapy can be particularly beneficial for individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Along with the mental benefits this activity can offer, there are physical ones too, such as the improvement of fine motor skills. The act of cutting, pasting, and decorating pages in a scrapbook can help maintain those skills, which is important for overall physical health and independence of residents.

Introducing scrapbooking to your home also means that residents can create personalised keepsakes for themselves, their families, or friends. These scrapbooks can then be cherished by loved ones and serve as a lasting legacy.

Creating a scrapbook also offers multi-sensory engagement as it appeals to multiple senses, including sight, touch, and even smell (from using scented markers or stickers). This multi-sensory engagement can enhance the overall experience for residents.

Many residents may have hidden or underutilised creative talents, and scrapbooking provides an opportunity to discover and nurture these abilities. By sharing their life stories and experiences through scrapbooking, residents can strengthen their sense of belonging in the care home community. It can help build connections with fellow residents and staff.

To make scrapbooking more effective in care homes, staff and volunteers should provide the necessary supplies, guidance, and support. Additionally, it’s essential to adapt the activity to the residents’ abilities and preferences, ensuring that it remains an enjoyable and enriching experience for everyone involved.