Dementia, memory loss, Alzheimer’s call it what you will, it is an isolating and stressful experience both for the individual concerned and their loving family members. I encountered this situation on a daily basis with my grandmother as our three generation family lived together as we tried to find ways to reassure, stimulate and continue to connect with a dearly loved grandparent, mentor, mother and friend. As my grandmother reached her nineties, confusion became a daily and frightening companion.
As a family we needed to find strategies to maintain that close connection we had always enjoyed. Fortunately, for us, we had audiotapes of a history of singing together as a family, recorded over a period of sixty years plus, photographs and videos and a vast array of memorabilia that was stored in suit cases under her bed.
Using my professional skills I produced a photo book and a DVD based on her life and despite her failing sight and failing memory this proved key to making regular connections with her past and with us in the present. The photographs, old super eight films, videos and songs presented in this way prompted memories which in turn prompted her to tell the tales of her life in a most gentle and beautiful manner as she relived her long and fascinating journey which was shared in full with family. A journey we shared until the day she died. When she finally passed away peacefully at the age of 95 she was listening to her own mother and father singing to her. She passed with a smile and a squeeze of my hand. I made this as a gift for her and now we have lasting artifact that recalls her and our times with her. This was my gift to her. This you can be your gift to your family and loved ones.