Dementia bookshelf analogy

The Jersey Alzheimer’s Association is expanding people’s knowledge of dementia with its ‘bookshelf model analogy’.

Dementia bookshelf

We think it is a great analogy to help people to understand the condition more and thought we would share it.

The charity asks people to imagine the brain as a bookshelf full of books. It says the books at the bottom are symbolic of a person’s thoughts from childhood. The ones on the top represent recent memories and recollections.

If the bookshelf were to be shaken, the books on the top (representing the most recent memories) would fall off first. This represents short-term memory loss.

The books on the bottom shelf (representing a person’s oldest thoughts) would be sturdy and less likely to fall off. These show how people with the condition can often remember memories from years ago.

It can be difficult for the person to put all the books back on the shelf correctly. The top shelves are hard to reach, so some memories may never be replaced.

It’s often hard for people without the condition to understand what a family member, friend or neighbour might be going through. It’s incredibly important to help raise awareness of dementia and analogies such as this are great for helping people understand.

It would work particularly well when trying to teach children about the condition too.