Sandra Vartanian Dusbiber

I am a retired special education teacher who retired early because of my mom coming down with dementia in 2003. It was a sad decision because of my love for teaching but also I needed to be there on this journey to help my mom getting the care she needed. It began a very rough road for our family seeing our Mom like she was becoming. I began to start showing a lot of stress, and anxiety, so my husband, Tom and I started walking in our woods. On our walks I saw many adorable animals, and started sketching them. I have an art, degree so it was fun trying different medias with my drawings. While on our walks I was amazed by the beauty God had given us all through his flowers, birds, trees and anything else he showed through nature. My husband saw how much I was so tuned into the animals, so he bought be a camera. I had no idea about cameras but had fun trying many things with my Nikon. I was so happy with my new toy, and started taking photos of my mom moving through her journey with dementia. I put my stories and photos in a blog showing the happy times and even the sad times. My blog helped many other families dealing with their loved ones knowing what to expect and how to help make this journey a loving one and a learning experience too. I put my photos from our nature walks in a photo book and shared them with my mom. My mom did not know who I was but she would hold the photography book and point to the photos with smiles and even a lot of giggles. At the memory area where she was, other residents that had dementia would come and want to see the photos. So several days a week I would put my photos on the television and told stories about my photos.