Does looking at photos of their younger life cause more sadness or encourage conversation?

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My 85 year old mother suffers with vascular dementia. She is currently in a small group assisted living due to a broken hip. She doesn't want to interact with the other residents who are mostly Alzheimer residents, so she sits in her room and watches TV. When I visit, we don't have much to talk about. I was wondering if I brought old photos and asked her about them if it would just make her more sad that she is where she is? I'd like to hear others' experiences. This forum has been so helpful to me - the "Newbie"

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Old photos are a great idea. If you can convert old 8mm movies to DVD, even better. And when you visit her, let her parade you around the facility so she can have bragging rights.
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Try a few and see. My mother gets upset and sad at the passing of time. She feels she was incredibly shortchanged in life and looking at old photos of her beloved dad make her cry, still. (53 years gone) She has been a widow for 12 years but never talks about daddy. Pictures of us as kids make her angry that she wasted her youth and beauty on us. Pics of her siblings either make her sad that they have had happier lives (in her opinion) or angry because they have better health.

I do keep a "wall" of photos of the grandkids and great grands for her to show off to visitors. She doesn't want to see the "actual" child, but she does like to show off the progeny.

I know when I see pictures of myself when I was young and skinny, I get pretty depressed. There are days, definitely when an old photo does not spark one iota of joy.

Everyone is different. I could entertain either of my grandmothers for hours with two or three photos and listen to their stories. Mother is a different bird.
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Looking at old photos is a great idea and a great way to fill the silences that often occur when we're spending time with someone with dementia.
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I don't know how you can go wrong with old pictures and mementos. My Dad has dementia, little short term memory but still has long term memories. He loves to talk about the old days, look at old pictures, high school,year books etc.
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