Monday, July 15, 2013

Collage therapy

It's a sad fact of life that many of us will see a close friend of relative suffer from dementia, and wish that we could find a way to break through the fog, if only for a minute.  Recently I heard a lovely story from an artist friend of how she has a neighbor, in the later stages of Alzheimer's, visit her once a week so the husband/caregiver can have a day off.

When this arrangement began, my friend discovered that the neighbor loved to look through magazines and find pictures she could identify.  They started a project in which they cut out pictures that the neighbor liked, and pasted them into a book.  Over the months, the neighbor gradually lost her ability to cut and paste, so my friend the artist did that part.  Eventually the book got full.

Now it's part of a ritual.  When the neighbor arrives each week her book is waiting for her on the table with a cup of tea.  The silver lining of dementia: each week the book is new and exciting.  She goes through the book slowly and can occasionally tell a little story about the pictures.  For instance, when she was a child, she lived on a farm and had horses.

I thought this was a great idea for an activity that keeps on giving.


  1. What a lovely story - my mum had dementia and I wish I'd done this with her before she died.

  2. Touching story and a great idea!

  3. What a wonderful idea! I have a friend whose mother might enjoy that.

  4. How friend is in early stages as well. I had a photo book made up of our small fiber group and included some of her wonderful art quilts from the past several years. It was quite touching as she did remember some of her own work. I'm so glad I put this together for her too.

  5. My sweet mom and dad used to come for dinner and cards every Sun. Our ritual would take us to my raised gardens in the back yard before dinner and afterward; each time she would be so happy to see my little herbs and flowers as if it was the first time. It was like dessert before and after dinner for me. Miss her, love her.