Using Drawings to Reminisce

Neighborhoods, homes, and bedrooms can be special places in our memories.

Places we frequented such as neighbor’s homes or stores can bring back fond memories. Homes and bedrooms may have been our quiet place, or our sanctuary. Many of these places can conjure images of people, things, food, events, and everyday happenings. Drawing these images may help us to remember and create an opportunity to reminisce.

Drawing of a house

Provide drawing paper, pencil, or colored pencil to draw one or more of the following. Assist your older family member or friend as needed.

  • Make a drawing of the layout of your childhood bedroom. Draw the bed, dresser, chest of drawers, closet, or other things of significance. If you can remember a quilt or bedspread, dolls, posters, toys, knick knacks, pillows, books, jewelry, treasures, or other things, draw or list those. If  a room was shared, note who it was shared with and where each person slept.
  • Make a drawing of your childhood home or other home where you lived. The drawing can be of the layout of the house, the front of the house, a yard, a tree house, or a playhouse. Draw or list other people, things, food, etc… that come to mind.
  • Draw your childhood neighborhood. This could be houses on your street or neighborhood businesses your frequented. Name each family home or business if you can remember.
  • Draw the neighborhood, home, or bedroom where you, the caregiver, were raised by your loved one. Draw and remember these things together.
  • There maybe a special place where your family visited or owned such as a cabin, beach house, vacation getaway spot, or other place that can be drawn and remembered.

Now, use the drawings to reminisce with your older family member or friend. Reminisce as she draws or wait until she is finished. Let her take the lead in the conversation and go wherever the topic takes you. Ask questions about people, places, events, food, things, etc…

Include children in this exercise by allowing them to draw their home, bedroom, or neighborhood. Compare an older family member’s drawing to a child’s drawing and note the similarities and differences.

If possible, take a trip back to a childhood home or neighborhood. Drive down familiar streets and go to places that are still around.

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