Photographs can play a powerful role in the lives of seniors for a number of different reasons. Many people are familiar with the role they play in allowing seniors to reminisce and stay connected to people and memories from their past.

Individual and family snapshots also help create positive connections between clients and their caregivers, family and friends. How do they do this?

Photos tell a story.

Photos help express to others more about the individual person. We created a photo book for my grandparent’s 70th wedding anniversary. While it was a joy to reminisce through the photos as a family at the actual celebration, the album has continued to communicate to numerous visitors since then more of my grandparents’ personality, interests, and history. This¬†helped those responsible for their care see them as much more than the sum of their current abilities and needs.

Photos create emotional connections.

Knowing someone’s story helps us feel more emotionally connected with them. Photos that communicate emotion are especially helpful in this area. One of my favorite photos in my grandparents’ album is of their family of three just before my grandfather’s WWII deployment. The photo brings up all sorts of emotions – the handsome young man facing the unknown, the young new mother about to raise her daughter alone while hiding her fears about a husband away at sea, and the baby girl who will not see “Daddy” again for several years.

Photos create specific connection points.

Those who love to travel will notice vacation photos. Pet-lovers will notice photos with animals. Adventurous souls will notice photos of hiking, skiing, or boating. The more that can be communicated by photos about a person, the more likely it is that people will find connection points with him or her.

Photos help spur conversation.

Finally, when family and friends visit a senior in their home or a facility, photos can create easy conversation starters.

Ideas for Presenting Photos

  • Hang photos on the wall in a cluster of frames or canvases.
  • Place several framed photos on a table.
  • Create photo albums or photo books easily accessible on a coffee table. A single album could span the senior’s life from baby photos to the present.
  • Create a calendar of favorite photos.
  • Create a photo board.

Share how you have used photos to help form connections or one of your favorite ways to present photos.