I have changed my mind! Instead of a journal, I am going to keep a scrapbook. I got the idea from something that caught my eye at the county fair: scrapbooking/journaling. Since I have never entered anything into our local fair, I have decided to give it a try. Not only will it chronicle a year in the life and thoughts of a person with dementia (ME), it will allow me another outlet, another way to exercise my mind.
I found a sale at Michael’s Craft Store and chose a pretty 12x12 size book with top loading pages. This is all new to me, so I am learning as I go—and, finally, I have something to do with all the papers, scissors, embellishments I had been buying with the well meaning intention to make a family photo album! That has not appealed to me enough to follow through, so I’m happy to have finally found an angle to use which stimulates my creativity.
Sunday, I spent the afternoon creating the first two pages for September, 2008. I included on the front side art work showing grapes and told about my trip to Virginia to visit my daughter on Labor Day weekend. During the time there, we went for a winery tour and wine tasting. I wanted to use the sheet I used to grade each wine, but I found it was too big for my scrapbook page—at 12x12, I have found that just about everything is too big! My printer/scanner came in handy to remedy this problem! I just reduced the size! It worked like a charm! Guess my thought processes and problem solving aren’t too bad, after all!
The second page deals with the Presidential election and how this is the first exciting election that I have known. I included on this page some pictures of the candidates and representative headlines from the newspaper. Then I wrote my own thoughts:
“It is such a joy to witness this particular presidential election! Never before have we had such eclectic possibilities. The first black (bi-racial) American is running for President, Senator Obama. And, to add to that wonderment, the families of Senator McCain (Republican Presidential candidate) and his running mate, Governor Sarah Palin, have families which represent what America is all about: diversity and patriotism! I have never been so excited about an election before! I even watched most of the Republican Convention! The speech given by Governor Palin was the first I’d ever really listened to delivered by a woman—and she is a dynamo. Senator McCain, though no great orator, delivered a well-written speech; granted, it was full of small slip-ups, but I can excuse that because I feel deep down that he has our country at heart—and that the most important of all!”
Thinking about this new venture of mine, the scrapbook/journal, I am beginning to realize that it may very well be more helpful to my mental health than a plain, written journal would have been. A scrapbook such as I am doing will make me evaluate what was important each month. I will have to plan and create backgrounds and write captions and small paragraphs. I will have to use the computer, the printer, scissors, glue, embellishments…all of which exercise my mind in different ways. Hmmm…I think this scrapbooking idea just might be fun, too! And, in one year, I will have an entry in our local county fair for the first time in my life! Wow!
(Note to caregivers: How about doing this same thing with your loved one? I suggest keeping it simple at first until you see just how much your loved one can handle. Please encourage them to include items from events they attended, newspaper articles/pictures/captions/headlines, magazine articles or pictures, photos, etc. Buy some embellishments such as stickers for them to decorate it. Encourage them to cut with scissors and apply glue, if possible. Allow them to draw if they want. Or to color. Let me know if you have done this OR if you do it in the future. I’d love to hear how it goes.)