If you have a loved one living with dementia then you probably can relate to this scenario: It's a holiday, a fun visit, or just some good lighting and you want to take a picture with your loved one with dementia. Except a lot of the times, this happens:
Maybe they're not looking, or smiling, or just don't seem to be engaged. You might be feeling a little disheartened. Perhaps you're thinking that you can't possibly post this to social media, print it out and frame it, or cherish it. It's possible that you've gone far too long without taking pictures at all. I used to feel this way too, but here's 10 reasons why you shouldn't feel discouraged, and should take that photo:
1. Capturing them doing their favourite activity
My grandmother Marilyn loves music! Why wouldn't I want to capture a sweet moment like this, even if it is mid-clap.
2. You might just catch a smile or laugh
For every photo where I catch Marilyn smiling, there are probably 10 where she isn't. But if I wasn't taking pictures at all there would be 0 good ones.
3. For their spouse or caregiver
It's always meaningful to have photos of your loved ones, for both an individual living with dementia and their loved ones.
4. They can start a conversation
Photos can stir up a lot of thoughts and memories. This photo of Marilyn reading about Marlena Books in the Globe and Mail's University Report always gets someone talking!
I remember feeling uneasy about taking photos with Marilyn even years ago when her dementia was not as progressed. However, it is interesting for our family to look back at older photos and see her disease progression. I'm sure I'll look back fondly on current photos in years to come.
6. Capturing a special moment between loved ones
Marilyn might not be smiling here, but she was having a great time visiting with her younger sister. What a great memory for both of our families.
7. To update family and friends
When a family member or friend is diagnosed with dementia, there are usually a lot of questions. When changes happen, photos are a great way to send updates to family and friends. Here's Marilyn and her husband Ray as she was adjusting to life in long-term care.
8. For a good laugh
My family loves this #selfie of Marilyn's daughters and two of her granddaughters. She might not be smiling, but the photo is 100 times better because she's in it.
9. To reminisce
This photo shows Marilyn comforting me at a family event. I love looking back on this and remembering all the times she used to do the same when I was younger.
10. They are still here
The most important reason! Individuals living with dementia are still here, sharing their lives with us. No matter where they are along their dementia journey they deserve to be included, appreciated, and photographed.
Can you think of other reasons why you love taking photos with your friends or family with dementia? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!