How Photographs Can Help Elderly People with Dementia

If your loved one has developed dementia, we understand that you’ll be looking for ways in which to support them. We’ve found that one way to do so is by using visual aids such as photographs to help them remember the past.

By reminding them of key moments, you’ll be exercising their brain, working to stimulate their memory function. This can be crucial for those in any stage of dementia as when they begin to lose their memory, they may feel like they are losing a sense of their self.

By using images to remind them of great moments, you’ll be supporting them in reliving those memories of joy. So, what’s the best way to use pictures to help your loved one feel engaged?

Create a personalised photo album

You can engage your loved one by supporting them in creating a personalised photo album. For those with dementia, photographs can be a great keepsake as it keeps a collection of their most sentimental memories in one place, ensuring they can easily remind themselves of their memories.

It’s also a great activity to do with your loved one as you’ll be able to encourage them to focus on different memories while piecing together their album.

Order images chronologically, creating a timeline of events. This will support them in processing how people from their past may have changed. It will also create a visual reminder of those who may have recently entered their lives.

Enlarge photos and add labels

As you put together the photo album, ensure that you enlarge images to enable easy viewing. Also, consider adding captions to each picture to enable comfortable solo viewing. Make sure to include the date, who is in the image and where the photo was taken.

Encourage more photo-taking

If you have created a photo album for your loved one, there is no reason to stop adding to it! Encourage them to still take photos by providing them with their own handheld camera. This will help them with their short-term memory, as well as providing them with a new hobby to engage with.

It’s important to note that your loved one’s ability to use a camera will depend on what stage of dementia they’re in, and can also vary from day to day, so it’s essential to explore what solution may work best for them. For example, a digital camera can be easier to carry around, or a polaroid camera can offer familiarity and simplicity.

Alternatively, if your loved one has a carer or lives in a residential home, you could ask their carers to take images on their behalf.

Try scrapbooking

Scrapbooking could be another great visual activity to spark reminiscence for your loved ones. This will be an excellent exercise for going back through the past and can be a good option for those in the latter stages as it will give them a range of colours, textures and textiles to work with.

If your loved one needs additional support, Crouched Friars Residential Home in Colchester can provide specialist dementia care that will support them in staying stimulated and healthy.

Based in Essex, our care team maintain a daily roster of activities and curate a safe, supportive environment that’s ideal for older people with dementia needs.

If you’re interested in hearing more about Crouched Friars Residential Home, our team would be happy to talk to you. Contact us on 01206 572647 or email

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