My developmentally disabled sister has suffered from seizures since she was an infant. Most of her seizures are minor, but a few years ago she had a seizure so severe that she stopped breathing momentarily. Janice was hospitalized and recovered, but she seemed to regress and lost her sweet, fun-loving personality. She became fearful and teary, and suffered panic attacks. It has taken several years, but with much help and encouragement we are seeing signs that the old Janice is back. Yes!
During those years of her slow recovery, we tried anything we could to help stimulate her interests and calm her fears. One idea that I came up with was to make her a photo book of her life. I included pictures from her childhood to adulthood; school, Special Olympics and her awesome job at L’Arche Farm and Garden. I made sure to include pictures of all the people in our large family that love her. My hope was that the pictures would help her with her memory and remind her how much she was loved. Who wouldn’t love having a book written about themselves?
You can check out her book here: http://www.mixbook.com/photo-books/interests/meet-janice-evanger-6215383?vk=wo2jk9M4UI
Once we got the book in the mail, I realized that not only could the book bring enjoyment to Janice and help her memory, but it would be a great way for her caretakers to get to know her better. Some of her caretakers hadn’t known Janice before her setback. They needed to see how high functioning she was in the past, and hopefully could be again.
I think photo books are great tools for reaching individuals with disabilities and memory impaired adults, too. They can be awesome conversation starters for new friends and caregivers alike. They are great gift ideas for birthdays and holidays.
I made my photo book using Mixbook, but there are many companies that provide the same type of service.