Caregiver Judie Sowards shares her incredible story about creating a digital memory album for her mother with Alzheimer’s disease.
Coping with memory loss is not only distressing for the person experiencing dementia or Alzheimer’s, but also for those around them. People with this illness become anxious about forgetting their past. They forget how important their life has been and those around them.
Family members, as well as caretakers at nursing homes, want to try to provide opportunities to share memories by looking at photos, letters and souvenirs together. This can help jog the person’s memory, and may help them feel more calm and in control of their disease.
As memories fade, a loved one can be comforted by familiar faces that mean something to them every time they watch their “Lives You Touched” digital memory album. They may not remember someone’s name, but seeing it on the screen with a photograph becomes a welcomes memory jogger. I found this out with my mom. Once the nursing home put her “Lives You’ve Touched” video into the TV, mom not only became calm, but the caretakers at the nursing home got a sense of relief and comfort. Her mood changed, she became the “Star” for the moment and they were able to get her to relax. It brought normalcy into the lives, giving the caretakers a sense of “home” for them to work with.
My mom actually tried to escape her nursing home eight times, giving the caretakers a huge responsibility. Once they started putting the video of her life in, she completely calmed down and forgot about trying to escape so much. It didn’t cure her of this thought, but when she saw herself on the TV, it seemed to help her much quicker than normal.
You can view my mother’s digital video below:
My mom recently passed away a week ago, and I will miss her very, very much, however, I know that I did everything in my power to make her last memories good ones. Up to the end, every time she saw her mom, her dad, her sister or her husband and children on this video, she smiled and sat down calmly. It reminded her that her life had been very important to so many and that she had touched so many, many lives. It was a moment-to-moment reminder of how special she was, and an effective one.
I hope that I can help you who still have your mom or dad by telling you about our video. It takes just 7-14 days to get a custom-made video of your loved one and you will be amazed at how much it means to them to see just who they touched.
Contact the Global Distribution Network at (509) 328-4669, to find out more about a custom video for your loved one.
I spent eight years caring for my mom after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Her mom had been stricken with the illness over 30 years ago as well, and it scared her when she found out that she would experience the same thing her mom did. It also scared her that she could treat her family the way her mom did. She was horrified. I needed a way to make mom calm, while also strengthening her memory. I knew I was going to lose her, but wanted to keep her as long as I could.
For 20 years now, my family has been in the business of working with funeral homes creating a “Tribute Program” for families so they could have a memory in honor of the loved one who had died. Once my mom became ill, I decided I wanted to create something that would remind her of the “Lives She’d Touched” through the program, while keeping her memory alive so she could remember those lives as long as possible. I developed the “Lives You’ve Touched” digital memory album.
What caregiving approaches have you used to preserve memories and meaning for loved ones with Alzheimer’s? Share your tips with us in the comments below.