The iPad and Alzheimer’s
When I visited, I would talk to her a lot about her friends and relatives who had written to her or called her. Often she became confused when she tried to remember what they looked like or who they were. I found that showing her a photo of that person when I mentioned their name took away a lot of the stress and frustration, and she would recognize the person right away.
When we celebrated her 90th birthday at a local restaurant. 12 people from the family joined her at the party. One of her nieces (Cheryl) gave her a gift card to her favorite restaurant (Ninety Nine), and she was just thrilled.
My wife, Mary, took a number of pictures of everyone who had attended the party and I loaded these pictures onto my iPad. When I visited mom the week after the party, I mentioned what a wonderful gift her niece, Cheryl, l had given her. She was confused and thought it was another niece who had given her the gift. I immediately opened up the iPad, showed her the pictures of the party and pointed to Cheryl. “There she is, right after she gave you the gift.” Mom recognized her and acknowledged how nice it was of her to be so generous.
I often used pictures from my iPad to put Mom back in touch with the important events and people in her life. One of my projects involved I borrowing all my parents’ old photo albums and scanning hundreds of pictures into iPhoto on my computer. My dad had been a real photo buff and often developed many of his own pictures. Several of these pictures were classic shots of both my parents when they were quite young. I have a wonderful photo of my mom in her beautiful white high school graduation gown. She looks absolutely stunning! I’ve also got several pictures of mom and dad as young sweethearts.
I downloaded hundreds of these pictures onto my iPad and divided them into several albums representing different periods in my Mom’s life. When we would talk, she would often ask questions like, ”When did you get married? Was I there?” I would then go directly to the pictures of our wedding and show her that she was, in fact, there and looked quite attractive. We would go through a number of pictures from her past and discuss the events around them. She loved to look at pictures of my father when he was a sharp young soldier during WW ll. That would lead into extensive conversations about how great a father and husband Dad was.
The iPad made it so easy to share pictures with her. The photos take up the whole screen and are quite clear. We could make pictures smaller or larger by squeezing or extending our fingers on the screen. Mom could change photos by just brushing her finger across the screen or tapping it. It was such a wonderful tool to share memories with her. Frankly, I don’t know how I could have shared all these memories with her without it. The iPad enriched each visit we had together. And that made all the difference in my visits with her.
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