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Memory album, reminiscence box ?

jaymor

Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
12,990
England
You could test the idea by showing her a few photos - different themes on different days - and seeing how she reacts...

I see what you're saying about it being cruel to remind her of her past, but I'm thinking more and more now that my mother actually needs to retreat into her past as an escape from the present, which she doesn't like.

For example, she cannot walk independently now, but she regularly tells me how she went walking back to her old house (that she lived in when she was 30, or 20...) and visited it... I feel she needs that.

When my husband could react to his memory book he was certainly more animated about the older photos of our early life together than he was about the more up to date ones. Many of the photos contained friends and family who had died and he talked about them as if they were still with us.

I can remember him saying one day when looking at a group photo of our wedding, that his Mum looked nice in her suit and she should wear it more often. His Mum died nearly 30 years ago. We seemed to have more confusion with the recent ones where he had forgotten the person but it was not upsetting just a comment along the lines of ' Who is that'.
 

Angela T

Registered User
Jul 13, 2014
187
France
Yes the oldest memories stay longest, and my mother is also asking regularly about family members who have died "How is ... ?"

She clearly remembers the person (husband, parents, sister-in-law, MIL...) and that they were important to her, but not that they have died.

So I think it is not necessarily unkind to have pics of them - they are/were a huge part of her life, after all.

And if she forgets more recent people, then we can just say who they are...

It's all about maintaining links - with her past, and being able to talk about them with her.
 

Angela T

Registered User
Jul 13, 2014
187
France
I got a really good deal on photo books and made two of them for £19 each. They consist of over 100 pages and were professionally printed and bound. It takes quite some time though to put all the photos together, then to decide how to insert them on the pages, what the text, if any should be.... I did one for our Iceland holiday and one for OH's life, although most of the pictures were just from the last decade. It was an effort, but the end product was fantastic and we often look through the books together.
Your books sound amazing - over 100 pages !

Yes it does take time, I did one for the family a while back and it took ages, but the result is fantastic as you say, and always a pleasure to look through.

I think for my mother we have decided on a loose-leaf scrap book or folder - so we can add and remove pages over time.
 

Angela T

Registered User
Jul 13, 2014
187
France
I got my teenaged daughter involved making a memory album for my Mum. Pictures from her whole life. Childhood up to adult hood. Friends, holidays, pets,parties,gardening photos which Mum always enjoyed. Also a list if the hobbies my Mum used to enjoy. She doesn't get upset, just smiles as she see photos from years ago that she knows mean something to her but not sure what. My daughter did very simple text in large print. Mum can read sometimes but sometimes not. It's a good prompting tool. It also gives family and friends something to do if there are not sure what to talk about. It also helped my daughter to learn what dementia is and how her nana is now.
I think the AS have guidance on how to make a memory book too.
Good therapy making and looking at.
Thanks!

Yes, my daughters have each chosen themes and we are doing it together.

I can see it as being therapeutic for all of us - learning more about my mother's life, and then using it to talk to her about things she can relate to.

I'll look and see what the AS says about memory books.
 

Angela T

Registered User
Jul 13, 2014
187
France
I made up a photo album for Mum but when she looked at the photos she told me she had seen them before and wasn't interested. I tried talking about them and she clearly knew who was in the photo but had no interest. I'm not saying it isn't a good idea, just that it may not be well received.
I agree Onlyme, we don't know how she will react - we'll see.

At the moment she is keen to reminisce, so it is worth a try.
 

Angela T

Registered User
Jul 13, 2014
187
France
I did my husband's when he was first diagnosed and to him it was just like a photo album with notes by each photo. It was left out and as he progressed he often picked it up and looked through it and as his memory faded the notes were useful to give him a jog.

Now he is way passed knowing or recognising and he has it in his nursing home. The staff look through it and can see and read about his life before dementia.

I agree that if made too late a memory book might not have the desired effect but can be useful to others who may be caring .
I see it a bit the same way... useful for jogging her memory while she still does remember, and then when she can no longer remember, I feel it will be helpful for those caring for her - to get a glimpse of the life she led and the person she was, before dementia.

We want to get it finished soon... while she is still lucid about the past.
 

Angela T

Registered User
Jul 13, 2014
187
France
I am trying something a little different on the Memory Book idea. My idea is to create a visual diary as my OH often says that she has few visitors and spends most of her time in bed. So I am trying to set the record straight with photos of things we do and comings and goings here. Her initial reaction is to say how tired she has looked in some of the photos. It will be interesting to see how this little projects develops.
What a lovely idea !

We could do that as well - though I'm sure my mother would not like herself in photos either, she has changed physically and now looks tired and frail. SO sad !

But we could have an ongoing section at the end with comings and goings - even if she doesn't remember, we can talk about things we have done with her.