Creating Your Own Photo Book
Looking at photos is a great way to get a conversation going between you and your elderly loved one. Here are a few things to consider when creating your own photo album. I have also included a photo gallery in the next tab. It contains a variety of photos all of which you are free to download and use in your own photo books.
What pictures should I include in my photo album?
- Since Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients remember the past well during the early stages of the disease, you may want to consider including photos from their childhood if they are available (“Coping”). Simple photos of nature, animals, babies, tourist destinations, or old towns are also great. The main thing to keep in mind is that the photos should not be overly busy – the idea is to soothe the patient and trigger memories of past events without overwhelming them. Remember, you know your loved one best. If they really enjoyed taking trips to the mountains, include several mountain pictures. But, if they grew up in the city and never visited the mountains, you may consider putting in city shots instead.
How do I start a conversation?
- The best way to start a conversation is simply by looking through the photos and pointing things out. If you are using old family photos, make sure you identify the people in the pictures rather than asking for identification. This will take some pressure off of your loved one and help keep frustrations to a minimum (Scott). If you are looking at scenic pictures, such as the mountains or beach, ask them to tell you about their favorite trip to the mountains. As the disease progresses, you can simply look at the pictures and enjoy their beauty rather than pressing their memories.
What if it does not work?
- If talking about the photos doesn’t seem to be going well or if your patient seems to be getting frustrated, don’t be afraid to stop (Scott). If you have created your own Talk To Me Treasure Box, either you or your loved one can select a new activity or just explore the treasure box contents together.