Using Photography as a Visual Cue for Dementia

Your memories make you who you are, reminding you of your likes, dislikes and what is unique to you. Unfortunately, dementia is an illness that can begin to take that away, leading to difficulties with making new memories and, eventually, difficulty in remembering the past.

If your loved one is experiencing this, there are some things that you can do to help them. For example, photography can work as a visual cue, providing an excellent way for them to reminisce on the past.

So, how can you use images to stimulate memories?

Create a photo book

Creating a photo book for your loved one will be a great way to engage them and help them reminisce on the past. Using photos from their childhood right through to adulthood will support them in remembering key moments from their life and assist them in processing how people and places may have changed.

It’s also a great activity to do together. By going through photographs, you can encourage them to talk through their memories, exercising their cognitive function.

Label and enlarge photos

When working with your loved one on your photo book, be sure to add labels to each image. This will provide more cues for when they look through the album by themselves. Include details such as who’s in the picture, when it was taken and where. You can also add other details, such as why the memory is special.

It is also advisable to enlarge the images to help your loved one take in every detail.

Keep taking photographs

Once you’ve created your photo book, keep adding to it with new pictures. By giving them a small camera to carry around, they’ll be able to capture even more of their memories each day. This can help them with their short-term memory if they’re able to document meaningful moments or people they’ve recently been introduced to.

It’s important to note that your loved one may be less able to use a camera depending on their stage of dementia, but a simple digital or a functional polaroid camera could be usable. Alternatively, you can ask their carers and friends to help them in taking a photo.

Other visual aids

There are plenty of other visual aids you can use to support your loved one in a similar way. For example, scrapbooking is an excellent activity for those living with dementia as not only does it help them to remember the past, but it gives them a range of colours and textures to explore.

Here at Churchfields Care Home, we support our residents in reminiscing on the past through activities such as scrapbooking and photo collage making. We have a range of activities designed to stimulate your loved one’s mind and keep them socially engaged.

If you’d like to hear more about our Cassington-based home, our team would love to speak to you. To contact us, call 01865 881440, and keep up to date with the latest news on our Facebook page.

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