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Username Post: Scrapping for someone with dementia        (Topic#1584597)
flintridgescrapper
Diva
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Joined: 07-17-09
flintridgescrapper

My mother in law has been going down the road to dementia for a while. Just little things, but it's getting worse now. She hasn't been officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's or anything like that, we can just see a lot of the signs. Her mother had it bad, and we can see her going down the same path. My husband has just talked them into moving by one of the kids, and downsizing to a smaller home.

Now to my question. She's still lucid enough to have conversations right now, so today I asked her if I could have all of her photos. I told her I would organize them, get them out of those awful magnetic albums and make her some small books. I would then portion them out to the kids, and we would have that done. She thinks it's just to help them downsize, but my real motivation is that I know that pictures help people with dementia.

What I have in mind is probably just have photo books printed at Snapfish or somewhere instead of doing traditional scrapbooking. That way I could get a whole lot more pictures in a book, and it would take up a lot less room.

My though process is do a book of her early life, a book of his early life, one of their life together and one for each of the boys. She also told me that she had pictures of all the cakes she used to decorate, and I thought it would be fun to do a small one of those. While I am doing these, I hope to be able to have conversations with her and let her tell me some of the stories behind the pictures.

Have you ever done anything like this, and do you have any suggestions on something else for me to do that would help her as she becomes progressively worse?

I could not sleep last night because I thought of this during the night, and I feel a real drive to get this done now. Father-in-law is supposed to go home from the hospital today, and DH is taking him there. I'm going to have him pick up all the pictures he can tonight so I can get started as quick as possible.


 
tanyaham
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tanyaham
In response to flintridgescrapper

I think this is an amazing idea! The only thing I have to add, is maybe record her telling stories somehow. Either on a phone or camera, or maybe she could write them out for you, and you could scan the pages.

Using Snapfish or another service to make a book is wonderful, especially if you'd ever want to make multiple copies of a book (like for each child).

I think it's wonderful that you're taking on this project! I tried to get my mom's old photos a few years ago. I got her boxes and showed her how she could sort them, then I could help her go through them. I have no idea who most of those people are in her old photos!


 
siameseplease
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siameseplease
In response to flintridgescrapper

first off, let me just say that this is a wonderful idea and so thoughtful of you!

I worked for 13 years doing cognitive testing and helping to diagnose dementias - what type, etc.

In most cases, remote memories (memories from further back) will be retained the longest. So, memories of their early years together will remain more fresh to her than things that happened just a few months ago, or a few years ago. With that in mind, if you want to learn the stories, I'd start with more recent ones. I'd also make notes for myself of which stories are most important to you and your family, and ask for those in the beginning, as well.

I'm sorry that your family is going through this; it is a rough, horrible condition.


 
flintridgescrapper
Diva
Posts: 5411
Joined: 07-17-09
flintridgescrapper
In response to siameseplease

Thank you both so much! Both have excellent ideas.

Tanya, recording her is something I've got to get on right away too. She's always been a big storyteller, and has loved to write so I'll try to incorporate that.

Gina, you've given me some invaluable advice from your point of view. Thank you for sharing your expertise with me. I'll definitely be keeping all of this in mind while I'm doing it.


 
CrimsonMama
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CrimsonMama
In response to flintridgescrapper

I made a 8.5x8.5 book for my mom who is in a nursing home. It's in my gallery. I thought it would help her remember us. I'm afraid that she is past looking at it now.

I did really simple pretty LO's with punches, but no distressing or tearing. I was pretty sure she would not get distressing, inking, etc.


 
Rosita
Rosita 
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Rosita
In response to CrimsonMama

Grab a camcorder and ask her about each picture individually! be sure to show the picture to the camcorder before and after her talking about it.

Years ago before my mother's dementia progressed too much, I did a slide show with a camcorder on the 'screen' and mama and my siblings talking about the pictures.


 
flintridgescrapper
Diva
Posts: 5411
Joined: 07-17-09
flintridgescrapper
In response to Rosita

Crimsonmama, I so enjoyed browsing your album. Lots of good pages. What was her reaction when you gave it to her?

Rosita, that is an excellent idea. I can see I'm going to have to be making extra trips to their house in the next few weeks.


 
CrimsonMama
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CrimsonMama
In response to flintridgescrapper

Well mother doesn't talk much now, but she kept turning the pages and I couldn't pry it from her hands! She said "everything matches perfectly" and Vicki, you must have spent so much time. It was worth just letting her know she is love.


 
TheCharmedOne
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TheCharmedOne
In response to CrimsonMama

I'm sorry to hear about your mother. Your idea is great! And you should do it. I'm voluntering at our local elderly home for demented elders and we see that photo's, books and music helps them a lot. It can call certain memories.
Me suggestion would be, when you start organizing your books, keep it as peaceful and calm as possible on each page. Like maybe 2 photo's for each page and do a lil description under the photo. Like the name of the person in the photo.
That way, its more organized for them and they dont get a lot of information all at once. Not every photo has to be in a book but the ones that are important can be in it. If she has a lucid day, go thru the photo's with her, ask questions, additional information if you may. And add that in the book with the photo's.

I know Dementia, Alzheimer can be very destructive to the mind and their surroundings. To keep her active when you can, will help tremendously. And it doesnt have to be like cycling or something but small things like the photo's, some small craft projects or a trip down to the park will do wonders.

Wishing you and your family lots of strength in the time to come.


 
kiyawinn
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kiyawinn
In response to TheCharmedOne

My mom does not have dementia but she does have a fatal cancer and is going through chemo right now. I've always heard her stories over the years but never written anything down. If I asked her about something she wouldn't always say much and when I asked her to record her stories, it never happened.
Then I discovered that if I emailed her a question, I would get back a whole page with her answer. Bingo!
So I started sending her a "question of the day" every once in awhile. I've been printing them off.
I also have been borrowing her albums and scanning all the old photos. If I run across an old pic of someone I don't recognize, after I scan it, I email it to her and ask her who it is...
I plan on putting together a heritage book of my mom's family and her life with my dad (who passed away a few years ago now).
Good Luck with your project!
It is so important to preserve these memories..

Alison


 
flintridgescrapper
Diva
Posts: 5411
Joined: 07-17-09
flintridgescrapper
In response to kiyawinn

Charmed, I will try to remember to keep it as simple as possible. I can see how too many pictures on a single page could be overwhelming.

Allison, I love the idea of the email questions. However, she does not even have a computer or email, so that's out of the question.


 
flintridgescrapper
Diva
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flintridgescrapper
In response to CrimsonMama

Vicky, you brought tears to my eyes with what your mother said. I can see you holding on to that precious memory.


 
charK
charK 
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charK
  • charK on 01-29-13 05:39 PM
In response to flintridgescrapper

My Dad had dementia. He had an old album with pictures from the Korean War. I sat with him and took all the pictures out and he told me about each one. He remembered all the guys names and places he was at. Names of weapons and such. I used post-it notes and wrote down exactly what he said and put it on the picture. I typed up his exact descriptions and put the captions under each photo. I then made him an album using Army stuff and some things from a company that made specific embellies for all the wars. He was very happy with it. We had it at his memorial service and I have it now.

I think doing a drag and drop photobook is the way to go. Faster and easier and you can order more copies for other family members. Smilebox is a nice one too.


 
flintridgescrapper
Diva
Posts: 5411
Joined: 07-17-09
flintridgescrapper
In response to charK

I really like the idea of using the post-it notes! Thank you!


 
flintridgescrapper
Diva
Posts: 5411
Joined: 07-17-09
flintridgescrapper
In response to flintridgescrapper

DH just called. He got fil settled, and he's starting home soon. He's gathering up the pictures right now. I can't wait to see what I have to work with.

I've never done one of the photo books, so I'm kinda of nervous about that. However, what I've looked at doesn't seem that hard.


 
lifethroughalens
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lifethroughalens
In response to flintridgescrapper

My grandmother is on this path right now. She hasn't been "officially" diagnosed but all the signs are there. I can call her, she still recognizes my voice, but the conversation is a merry go round of usually 4 topics. She just repeats herself. Most of the time I just let her go on talking just to hear her voice. Last Christmas we sat down together and I had her do one of those "recordable" Christmas books. Just a year later and there is no way she would be able to even do that. It is now something that is VERY dear to me, so much that I keep it locked in our safe. All the above ideas are great and I am going to do some of them myself. I wish you good luck with any and all that you take on. They will be irreplaceable someday.


 
IzzyB
IzzyB 
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IzzyB
  • IzzyB on 01-30-13 04:54 AM
In response to lifethroughalens

I don't have any advice, but, wow, what a wonderful idea.


 
Diva
Posts: 5761
Joined: 09-06-07
In response to IzzyB

God bless you and your family. WHat a wonderful idea. Good luck with your project. I think it is wonderful to recor her while going thru the photos or when you are "interviewing" her. SUch an amazing journey!


 
Jessica G-B
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Jessica G-B
In response to bayamonesa1

I would add to keep it simple. Not a lot of flashy embellishments. Keep the same font, make it large, and keep your color scheme in the same color family. This way the brain can focus on the photos rather than being stimulated with different colors at every turn of the page.

What a gift you are creating for your entire family!


 
flintridgescrapper
Diva
Posts: 5411
Joined: 07-17-09
flintridgescrapper
In response to Jessica G-B

I'm about done with her 1st book. I chose to do it with the pictures of her cakes. Since this is the 1st photo book I've done, I didn't want to jump into vintage pictures!

I am Sooooooooo excited about getting it and giving it to her. She's a big crier anyway, so I know there'll be rivers!

I was talking to her today, asking about some of the pictures. It was so sad. She said something to the effect of if you were here, we could look at them together and I could tell you more about them. However, it may be lies, she said, because I'm getting so forgetful. That just about broke my heart. I just had to kind of make a little joke about it, and I said I'd begin them all with once upon a time, so nobody would know the difference if it wasn't 100% accurate. This just makes me more determined to get these done, the quicker the better!


 
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