It’s easy to forget — or be reluctant — to take family photographs when a member of the family is struggling with Alzheimer’s disease. The daily challenges, the ups and downs, can take a huge toll on patients and caregivers alike.
Still, it is still important to remember and honor the ordinary moments.
Carmen Buck, a photographer in Austin, Texas, is doing precisely that. Buck, the official photographer for Alzheimer’s Texas, is working to help families treasure moments and the memories they bring.
“One family told me, ‘These photos are priceless and mean so much to us now that she is gone,'” Buck said in a press release. “Families don’t know how to honor and create meaningful memories as unexpected changes occur with their loved ones and relationships.”
Buck, the president of Carmen Buck Photography, worked for 40 years as a holistic nurse practitioner and saw many people in her care seeking meaning and connection during challenging times. Later, she turned to photography to fill this need, bringing healing and connection to Alzheimer’s disease families through storytelling and photography.
Buck focuses on three dimensions to honor Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers:
- She photographs important events that raise awareness for the disease, like the Walks for Alzheimer’s Texas — she will photograph the 26th Annual Travis County Alzheimer’s Walk at Camp Mabry in Austin on Oct. 7.
- Pictures that capture ordinary times and become family legacies — moments that include multiple generations sitting in one room, and friends, caregivers, and pets.
- Taking the time to create photographs that show a patient’s zest, unique personality, sense of humor, quirks, and common expressions.
Alzheimer’s caregivers are often daughters, sons, wives, husbands, and siblings who are looking after their loved one. In Texas, family members who are considering moving their loved one with Alzheimer’s disease into a memory care community should expect to pay $4,520 per month, on average, the Alzheimer’s Association reports.
Buck will publish her latest book, titled “Just See Me — Sacred Stories from the Other Side of Dementia,” in January 2018. An international speaker and writer who hosts live events and webinars on spirituality, photography, and caregiving, she works with people in the Austin area and surrounding regions.