Wisdom from our elders
Grandma loves seeing photos but forgets who’s in them
Dear GrandPad: My grandma has dementia that affects her memory. In fact, even though she’s always happy to see us, she sometimes can’t remember our names when we visit her in memory care. Grandma’s always enjoyed family pictures, but now she needs someone with her to explain who the people are, especially in newer photos. We’re wondering if a GrandPad can help. From what I’ve read, you can upload pictures on the tablet so she could see them, but if she doesn’t know who she’s looking at what’s the point? An even bigger issue is with her dementia being this bad, can she use a GrandPad? – HJ
Dear HJ: It’s heartbreaking when someone we love can’t recall our place in the family, but sadly, that’s part of the disease. You’ve probably learned all about how the damaged brain connections keep people from forming new memories and recalling some older information but knowing why doesn’t make the situation less painful. Keep in mind, though, she does understand you are important to her and are there to support her.
Family pictures are cherished by most people, but they tend to mean even more as we age. When someone has dementia, though they may not be able to place the people in a photo, those pictures are still a vital link to the past. Viewing these images can help people reminisce and may even stimulate memory.
With a GrandPad, the person designated as admin can upload pictures from the family albums that your grandma can access anytime by touching the app on her tablet. They are displayed in a large, clean format, and they can be labeled. That way, when your grandma brings up the photo, she can read the caption which will help refresh her mind about the people that she’s viewing.
GrandPad also gives family members the ability to share pictures from Facebook so that you could keep new photos coming in for her to see. That way, if there’s an event she can’t attend or just some family fun, she could be part of it.
The GrandPad is made for older adults and those with various challenges, and that includes dementia. She’ll have all of the advantages of a simple format and no confusing clutter. She’ll see large, uniquely colored icons and clear text with great contrast.
Video calls with family can be started by touching the icon under the person’s picture. That picture is also labeled, so your mom, for example, could have her name in her profile as “Daughter Susan” and your grandma would see that information under the picture which cues her about Susan’s place in the family. You could be “Grandson Josh” and so on with family and friends.
Music is therapeutic for people with dementia so an additional benefit of GrandPad is that she’d have easy access to the music of her era. We hope that your family will consider a GrandPad for her because we’re certain that owning one would uplift her quality of life.