How to Make a Scrapbook for the Elderly

With a few simple tools, you can make a scrapbook filled with special memories.

Learning how to make a scrapbook for the elderly can be an enlightening and satisfying activity for everyone involved.

Learn How to Make a Scrapbook for the Elderly

When preparing a scrapbook for the elderly, there is usually lots of material to choose from. The key to creating a dynamic scrapbook is getting organized.


You'll probably have lots of photos, so check the backs for dates and put them into a rough chronology. If you want more photos covering a certain period, like around the time of the birth of a child, ask relatives and friends for help. Once you've had an opportunity to review the photos, start making categories you think would make interesting pages: "The War Years", "Moving to the Suburbs", or "Vacationing in Tuscany".

Find an accordion file or some other filing method and label a section for each category. Place the sorted photos into each category according to their date. If you don't know a date and can't guess, try asking a relative, or ask the person you're preparing the scrapbook for. It will help you to have a written index of these photos by category where you can mark the dates and other important information you'll be including in the scrapbook.


Although photos are often the backbone of a scrapbook, other mementos make scrapbooks richer and more rewarding to look at. Try to find some things that you can use as focal points in your pages. Be creative. You may get lucky and find things like old birthday cards, wedding invitations, and birth announcements. Many folks keep these wonderful reminders of important occasions. Things like old theatre programs and restaurant menus are great, but even if you can't find these, the photos may help you recreate some of them. A snapshot taken in front of a national landmark and some information about a happy trip might be all you need to lead you to interesting items you can add yourself, like a recreation of a newspaper front page for a memorable date, a piece of sheet music for a song that was playing during an anniversary dance, or a poster from a favorite concert or movie. Scrapbooks for the elderly are all about evoking strong and happy memories.As you acquire mementos or try to recreate them for the scrapbook, place them in your filing system by category.

Ask Around

Don't forget about important elements that may be under represented in photos but may still be important. Become a detective and ask friends and relatives for as much information as possible about the life, likes and dislikes of your elderly subject. You might be surprised at what you discover. Ask for ideas too. The lifestyle of the elderly person you know today is very different from what it was 30 years ago. Other gems you never expected may come to light that will make your scrapbook more authentic and compelling.

Visit relatives and ask them to write down their fondest memories of your elderly subject. Make a few voice recordings, too.

Armed with this new information, go back to your proposed categories and see if you want to revise them. It would be nice to be able to include at least one written anecdote for each category you have in mind.

Putting it all Together

Now that you have created categories and organized your pictures, mementos, and written anecdotes, it's time to start evaluating the individual pages. How many pages will represent a category well? What color themes, print styles and other decorative elements will work with the items you already have?

Start compiling a list of the materials you will need for each page. Remember, elderly people often have trouble reading small print, so keep the print large and avoid cluttered or confusing layouts.

You'll discover that learning how to make a scrapbook for the elderly is a history lesson. But unlike the dry facts and statistics you remember from school, this is a personal history showcasing the most specific and touching memories. In the end, the process is often as much a gift for you as it is for the recipient.

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How to Make a Scrapbook for the Elderly