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A Photo Book for My Mother with Alzheimer's

Author: Libby

This is a personal post. I write a lot for Printique, but sometimes it’s important to reach deeper than tutorials. Sometimes, it’s important to share stories and life’s curve balls to relate, to empathize, to connect as humans. And to understand, why I am so passionate about photos. I’m passionate about photos because I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s. I’ll explain.
When Mother’s Day rolls around every year, I both cherish it and get quite sad. I cherish the moments with my own children and the moments and memories we share. I also am melancholy, knowing I lost my mother and when she passed away, she had no idea who I was and she had no memories.

 
For the last three years, photos are the link I shared with my mother. I read an article that helped me understand how important photos  can be for those suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s. You can read the article HERE.

You see, when I print the pictures and show them to my mother, it is the one time I see a small spark of recognition in her eyes. It’s often fleeting, but for that instant, we are connected back to being child and mother simply by holding a photo together. The photos and photo books are soft to the touch. I do not show her digital pictures on my phone because it is cold, small and often the screen confuses her. I give her the books to touch, to turn the pages, to feel the history. The paper is organic, it feels natural and welcoming.
So after reading this article, I built an 8×8  photo book for my mother with Alzheimer’s. I put the photos in chronological order from her being a young girl all the way to her being a grandmother of two. I chose specific moments and showed important relationships and milestones. She was in every single picture. I wanted to make a photo book to connect with her.
photo book produced by printique
 
She’ll gently touch a picture in the book and say, “Oh what a beautiful child.” I’ll remind her, it’s her grandchild and she’ll smile and laugh and say, “Well aren’t I lucky? What’s her name?” I’ll go on to tell her about her life, her children, and grandchildren. I know she won’t remember, and I know she doesn’t recognize me anymore but as her child, I need to let her know, I remember her.  How does someone forget a child? I don’t understand the disease, but I understand its impact.
photo book by printique
The photo book was by her bedside every day for three years. If I wasn’t going through it with her, then one of the staff would go through it with her. It was a weekly activity. Although, she lost her voice and capacity to talk, she smiled every time while looking through the book.
My mother passed away in March of this year. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the photo book was so instrumental in keeping me connected to her even when she could no longer speak. So for those that have someone in their lives with Alzheimer’s or Dementia it’s important to keep in mind that sometimes a printed photo or photo book can often be the link you need to stay connected to your loved one.
You can click HERE to see the full 8×8, silk paper, hard cover photo book.