A Gift Idea Your Parent will Cherish
Most of us have a number of photo albums, even if they are now more online than actual books. It may seem like something that’s been done already. Still, one book that shows their life in photos, one they can look at over and over would be a treasure.
You may know that I write about Alzheimer’s disease quite often. When I look back at the fifteen years we’ve been living with it, the changes I’ve seen have been remarkable. Today I’m not sure Mom would know anyone in the album if we got it out. But she might. There is a funny thing about dementia though. Your most recent memories seem to go first.
Someone with dementia might repeat the same question to you ten times in a five minute period, not remembering they had just asked it, but they will remember their childhood. They seem to go back in time.
The book pictured here looks the part, I think. The cover looks aged, it has protected corners, and the three-ring binder makes it easy to turn pages or add lots more. There is a lovely variety available though, so if you prefer to go more modern or tend to the cute side, you will find one you like.
A Family History in One Book
If you make up an album with some of their old family photos, showing their parents, their sisters and brothers, then move forward to their own adult life. Add in photos of yourself, your children. You can photocopy the pictures even. That is about as easy as it can get.
Next, write on each who it is, and when it was—if you know. I can’t tell you how often they will look at it and enjoy it. Whether in a facility or at home, it’s a sweet memory of things they remember.
Perhaps you are fortunate and your parent still has his or her memory. I’m so glad if so. But often aging, even without dementia or Alzheimer’s, brings with it some memory loss due to dying brain cells. If you do a book now, it will be something they are already familiar with, something they will cling to if memories should fade.
I’ll always remember the pleasure in my Dad’s voice when we pulled out an old album. It contained photos of his family and his youth. He could still remember many of the people in the photos, and loved seeing them again. He didn’t have Alzheimer’s but did have some dementia the last six months of his life. He couldn’t keep track of what time it was, but he knew the faces in a photo some sixty of seventy years old.
Try to gather some photos now—maybe they can help you identify some of the people. Ask your siblings, aunts, uncles, friends, if they have photos they could copy. With access so convenient with our computers, they can probably scan photos in without even mailing necessary.
It will light up their eyes and brighten their whole week! And, should they begin to forget, it will something for them to hold to that will be familiar and loved.