1. Expert Q&A: Living well as a carer - Weds 28 August, 3-4pm

    As a carer for a person living with dementia, the needs of the person you care for will often come before your own. You may experience a range of difficult emotions and you may not have the time to do all the things you need to do. Caring can have a big impact on both your mental and physical health, as well as your overall wellbeing.

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    You can either post questions >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll answer as many as we can on the day.

Family photo albums hidden

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Pear trees, Feb 27, 2016.

  1. Pear trees

    Pear trees Registered User

    Jan 25, 2015
    442
    Has anyone else found their relatives throwing away or hiding all family photos and albums except those with them in, and even cutting other family members out?. My mum only has photos of herself round the house. We found photos of her husbands children grandchildren and greatgrandchildren buried under the kitchen sink. She has never been interested in her family and does not want anyone to visit but this seems extreme.
     
  2. Bigreader

    Bigreader Registered User

    Jan 22, 2016
    26
    Pear trees, not as extreme as yours but my mother got rid of all the carefully framed photos of her great grandchildren that my children had given her. The only ones she had out were of her and my father or her and her sisters. She still knew who her grandchildren were and also the great grandsons that I looked after and took to my mothers on visits, so it wasn't not knowing. She was never fussed on my children, never babysat and once, when I asked why I was an only child she replied that she preferred dogs.

    I do wonder if polite 'hidden' feelings surface with dementia as they no longer have the ability to keep those feelings private. It's just so sad.
     
  3. annebythesea

    annebythesea Registered User

    Cut up photos

    Yes Peartrees, but it is only now I am looking into family history Dad has shared with me a lot of family photos where my Dad's aunt has cut herself apart from his family (her brother, his wife and 2 sons). I think she really resented her brother's happiness whilst she was jilted by her fiancee. Looking back I now realise she had dementia in her later years (though Dad never called it that to me at the time). However I think she had always been difficult and demanding with possible mental health issues, so not sure when the photo cutting took place.
     
  4. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,624
    USA
    Me, too

    Hi, Pear trees, sorry to say I do know what you're talking about, although not to that extreme.

    In our family's case my mother cut her mother out of some photos of both her parents together. Given that my mother and her mother never got along and had a horrible relationship, this was not a surprise.

    What was a surprise was when I was cleaning out my mother's place after her move to the care home. I found my mother's papers and photos (in odd places) and some papers and photos relating to my mother's father and his family (although a bunch were missing), but NOT ONE photo of my grandmother and her family. Not a single one. I know there were some, as I'd seem them when I was a child, but nothing turned up. I don't know if my mother got rid of them after my grandmother went to the care home or died, or if my grandmother (who also had Alzheimer's) got rid of them herself.

    Now at the care home, we have given my mother a pile of her most favorite framed photos (although I was careful not to take any of her mother!) and I have noticed they move around a lot. Different family members get set on the bureau depending on how she is feeling about them, perhaps. The other ones are in a drawer or cupboard (fewer hiding places at the care home, thank goodness), but whether they are being kept our of sight, or kept "safe," I couldn't tell you. It's hard to know.

    I'm sure it all has something to do with the dementia but couldn't tell you what. I'm sorry for anyone who has lost family photos or documents this way.

    (And Bigreader, not to hijack Pear trees' thread, but I'm sorry your mother would say such a hurtful thing to you.)
     
  5. Pear trees

    Pear trees Registered User

    Jan 25, 2015
    442
    Bigreader, that's so sad and horrible. I never had to ask my mum why she never fussed over my brother and I and our children, as she told us regularly that she did not want children, was told she could not have them following a childhood op, and we were both big mistakes who ruined her life.
    Well this mistake is one of the few people who will help her but get no thanks for doing it.
     
  6. Earthgirl72

    Earthgirl72 Registered User

    Feb 2, 2016
    136
    My dad has vascular dementia. When he was moving house we basically had to kidnap all the family photos or he would have taken them to the dump. He was especially scathing of all my late Grandma's photos and effects that my late mum had kept (he didn't really get on with her to be fair). He doesn't really have any photos on display at all.
    I now have a whole load of beautifully arranged photo albums in the loft, full of family members I do not know as only my Mum and Grandma could have told me.
     
  7. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,293
    SW London
    Not photos, but my FIL tore up and tried to throw out a mass of family tree stuff my Mil and her brother had carefully researched and collected over several years. It included letters and wills going back to the 1860s. Luckily OH found it all before it disappeared - everything ripped up. We spent ages pieceing it all together. OH was furious with him - he was still only early stage and well aware of what the things were. Yet he would keep all sorts of rubbish (long before dementia) old tins of paint with half a dried up inch in the bottom, and those oval cardboard bits from the top of Kleenex boxes - handy for shopping lists.

    It becomes advisable with dementia to check everything that's thrown out before the bin men come, but who can always be there to do it?
     
  8. Clive T

    Clive T Registered User

    May 4, 2015
    24
    Worcestershire
    Yes, it's so strange how all the funny little things I thought were unique to mum are anything but unique. So much has been lost. Family photos were one of the first things she became obsessed with, constantly removing them from the frames, sticking them back in, then throwing loads away. Yesterday in the kitchen bin I found several beautiful 1950's theatre programmes from shows that she and dad would have seen, all ruined. I should have hidden everything ages ago. I suppose for her it all has much relevance and interest as a receipt from Sainsbury's has for me. I just sighed and thought that sooner or later you have to let all that stuff go anyway.
     
  9. piph

    piph Registered User

    Feb 4, 2013
    1,530
    Northamptonshire
    Mum doesn't seem to want any photos at all in her room. She's even put away her and dad's wedding photo that I had re-printed and framed in a lovely gold coloured frame for their Golden Wedding Anniversary. She no longer wants any photos of her grandchildren or great-granddaughters, although she does look at the ones I have up on the wall in the living room. I thought I'd frame some in a big multi picture frame for her for Christmas, and was very disappointed when she didn't want it up on the wall, and has put it in the bottom of her wardrobe.

    She just doesn't seem to care whether I make her room nice or not.
     
  10. kingybell

    kingybell Registered User

    Feb 3, 2015
    115
    We had the opposite. Every photo she owns was out on display and every surface covered with photos of the past. The kids (they are 37 and 38) exercise books from school are out too.
    They are in the kitchen, the living room, bedrooms. These are not in frames just out so she can look at them all the time.

    I've had some put in photo books now and put some of the nicer ones in frames.
     
  11. Sue J

    Sue J Registered User

    Dec 9, 2009
    8,042
    My friend does this and also embellishes some photos of herself too. I see it as her feeling she is losing herself to the disease and is trying to hold onto herself.

    I have lost a lot of my memory which has affected relationships with my family and I keep things which trigger my connection to them.
     
  12. Jonathan22

    Jonathan22 Account Closed

    Feb 29, 2016
    12
    I have put some nice photos in frames.
     

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