10 reasons why you should take that photo of your loved one with dementia

Maybe they're not looking, or smiling, or just don't seem to be engaged. You might be feeling a little disheartened. Perhaps you're thinking that you can't possibly post this to social media, print it out and frame it, or cherish it. It's possible that you've gone far too long without taking pictures at all. I used to feel this way too, but here's 10 reasons why you shouldn't feel discouraged, and should ​take that photo: 

1. Capturing them doing their favourite activity

Marilyn Thompson happily clapping to the music.
My grandmother Marilyn loves music! Why wouldn't I want to capture a sweet moment like this, even if it is mid-clap. 

2. You might just catch a smile or laugh

Marilyn smiling while Rachel reads a book to her.
For every photo where I catch Marilyn smiling, there are probably 10 where she isn't. But if I wasn't taking pictures at all there would be 0 good ones.

3. For their spouse or caregiver

Raymond and Marilyn happily sitting on the front porch swing.
It's always meaningful to have photos of your loved ones, for both an individual living with dementia and their loved ones. 

4. They can start a conversation

Marilyn fixated on a newspaper featuring Marlena Books.
Photos can stir up a lot of thoughts and memories. This photo of Marilyn reading about Marlena Books in the Globe and Mail's University Report always gets someone talking! 

5. History

Marilyn and Rachel's cheerful and intimate selfie.
I remember feeling uneasy about taking photos with Marilyn even years ago when her dementia was not as progressed. However, it is interesting for our family to look back at older photos and see her disease progression. I'm sure I'll look back fondly on current photos in years to come. 

6. Capturing a special moment between loved ones

Family bonding with Marilyn's younger sister being delighted to meet Marilyn.
Marilyn might not be smiling here, but she was having a great time visiting with her younger sister. What a great memory for both of our families. 

7. To update family and friends

Marilyn and Raymond relaxing and chatting at a long-term care home.
When a family member or friend is diagnosed with dementia, there are usually a lot of questions. When changes happen, photos are a great way to send updates to family and friends. Here's Marilyn and her husband Ray as she was adjusting to life in long-term care. 

8. For a good laugh

Thompson's family selfie with everyone thrilled to have Marilyn in the centre.
My family loves this #selfie of Marilyn's daughters and two of her granddaughters. She might not be smiling, but the photo is 100 times better because she's in it. 

9. To reminisce 

Marilyn consoling Rachel as Rachel embraces Marilyn affectionately.
This photo shows Marilyn comforting me at a family event. I love looking back on this and remembering all the times she used to do the same when I was younger. 

10. They are still here

Rachel and Marilyn taking a selfie.
The most important reason! Individuals living with dementia are still here, sharing their lives with us. No matter where they are along their dementia journey they deserve to be included, appreciated, and photographed. 

Can you think of other reasons why you love taking photos with your friends or family with dementia? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!