Dealing with dementia is hard. For families with a loved one who has dementia – there are countless tasks, support demands, and wishes that you could be “doing more.”
My father-in-law was the family historian. He made scrapbooks of trips, even wrote a genealogy book and self-published his own memoirs well before self-publishing became a thing. When he was in the later stages of Lewy Body Syndrome, he had very limited communication skills, but it was clear there was still quite a bit going on inside his mind.
One Thanksgiving, I took home five boxes of family photos and memorabilia (spanning 3 generations). I took the best (200 +/-) images from when my husband and his brothers were growing up and turned that into a very full book. I then shared 5 copies with the brothers and their parents. He got great enjoyment from looking at that book while in nursing care, and later on in hospice. He loved reliving the memories, and it was a prop that made communication easier for family and hospice volunteers who came to visit him. After he passed away, some of the family told me that going back through the book was an important part of the grieving process for them.
I made other books for him, and for friends who were dealing with dementia in a family member, and learned a few important lessons along the way.
In these blog posts, I’ll share some of them with you.