If you’re one of the millions of American families who love someone with dementia, you’ll do anything to keep them happy and engaged.
A stroll down memory lane through your family photo collection is a wonderful way to connect and keep your loved one’s mind healthy!
A large part of our personal identities come from who we know and what we do. This includes memories about our spouse, children, friends, career, and hobbies. When we lose our memory, we can lose our sense of self. Thankfully, science tells us that visual aids, especially photos, can help.
Science tells us that visual aids, like family photos, can help keep a loved one’s mind healthy & engaged.
Celebrate the Holiday Season & Connect with A Personalized Photo Album or Scrapbook
Make the most of this holiday season by creating a photo album for your family member. Team OXO Digital Organizing put together a few tips to help you create a personalized picture album or scrapbook:
- Make the Album Personal. The best way to stimulate memory recall is to make the photo album as familiar to your loved one as possible. Start by naming the scrapbook or photo album “[Your Loved One’s Name]’s Story, so you can help him or her create an instant sense of comfort and cheer. If you have a recent photo of your loved one smiling, place it at the very front of the book. When you see a photo of yourself, net says, you instinctively smile back and get a warm feeling.
- Provide Variety & A Timeline. Include photos of family members, caretakers, friends, and places, past and present. Try to place the photos in timeline order, which will help them visit the past as well as create a vision of who they are today.
- Consider Eyesight. Many people with dementia have declining eyesight, which can make photos and text difficult to read. Ensure that your photo album or scrapbook contains large photos and descriptions.
- Understand the Process. Although most photo sharing sessions are positive, your loved one may become frustrated because they don’t know who is in the photos or why they are important. Start by flipping a few pages and see how it goes. When in doubt, skip back to farther in time, when your parent or grandparent was a newlywed, young parent, or child. Stop if your loved one seems stressed or unhappy. You can always try again later. Most often, old pictures start a flow of reminiscing.
- Take Care & Help Them Enjoy It. Do they particularly love an image of their first wedding dance or trip with the girlfriends to Paris? Take note, and consider copying these into a smaller album that can be turned to at any time.
Photos are a wonderful way to stimulate joy and mental activity for your loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, especially at Thanksgiving and Christmastime. To explore patient-focused photo gifts for the holidays, we invite you to visit Unforgettable.org, which features unique Christmas ideas like the Talking Photo Album and Reminiscence Cards. For even more tips on the right questions to ask and how to ask them, visit the Help for Alzheimer’s Families Photo Guide.
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