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Alzheimer's: Preserving memories with scrapbooks

By Staff
SIMPLE SOLUTION – Sybil Bracken gathers family memories in scrapbooks to help her mother, an Alzheimer's patient. Barbara Dobrosky, program director for the Mississippi Alzheimer's Association, said scrapbooks help people with Alzheimer's communicate with their families. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Sept. 22, 2003
About 4 million people in the United States have Alzheimer's, a progressive illness that makes it hard for people to remember things or think correctly.
But some Alzheimer's patients are connecting with their families again through tools as simple as scrapbooks or boxes of old photographs.
Barb Dobrosky, program director for the Mississippi Alzheimer's Association and local branch director, said the emphasis of this year's annual Memory Walk is memories through pictures and education to break the denial cycle.
The annual Memory Walk raises money for Alzheimer's research and education.
Sybil Bracken's mother is one Alzheimer's patient who has benefited from looking over old photographs in scrapbooks. She said that although her mother, who is in a nursing home, has trouble with short-term memory, she can still remember people and places from her past. Looking at the old pictures helps her family connect with her.
One of Bracken's daughters is a consultant with Creative Memories. She made the first scrapbook for her grandmother. Bracken said making the scrapbooks has now become a family project and she has shared her scrapbooks with an Alzheimer's support group for family members and care-givers.
Dobrosky said the use of scrapbooks has helped many people with Alzheimer's disease.
Betty Davis, a teacher at Northeast Elementary School, is working with the Alzheimer's Association to help people make pictures of their loved ones in preparation for the Oct. 4 walk.
Davis is drawn to the project because of a former teacher who helped her when she began working at Northeast.

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