Letters have been trickling into Beth Sprau’s office at Expressions at Enumclaw, written by people thanking White River High School senior Brittany Edmonson for putting together scrapbooks for their loved ones.
As part of her senior project, Edmonson, with Sprau’s assistance, created 16 individualized scrapbooks for residents of the Alzheimer’s facility. Each colorful booklet presents a slice of life and is packed with memories of fun times throughout the year. The scrapbooks were presented at the facility’s Christmas party.
“It really made the families teary-eyed,” said Sprau, who is Expressions’ life enrichment coach. “It meant a lot to the families.
“When someone places their family member in a place like this they don’t always know what their family members are doing,” she said.
Families often see the things an Alzheimer’s patient can no longer do, Sprau said, rather than the what they do now. The scrapbooks, she said, show family members that their loved ones are participating and engaged in a wonderful, active lifestyle.
“It’s just at a different level,” Sprau said.
In one letter to Edmonson, the daughter of a 91-year-old former teacher who lives at Expressions wrote, “It captivates Mother to continue to live life as fully as possible.” She also said she will always treasure and keep the book in her heart and it is nice to know her mother’s days are good days.
“I just wished I could have had them bound for Christmas, but with the weather…,” said Edmonson.
Edmonson, who is looking at a future in the health and human services field, was familiar with Sprau and her program. The two met as part of the White River High School Connections Program’s Buddy Up project, where students are paired with residents at homes like Expressions. As part of the school’s senior project, students are required to perform 20 hours of community service.
“I think I ended up putting in 51 hours,” Edmonson said.
She started the scrapbooks in November. Sprau supplied the photographs, materials and also the interview information that was included as part of each creation.
“The families loved them,” Sprau said.
Edmonson said she had a couple of panic attacks trying to get them all done by Christmas. She said poor weather prevented her from binding them, but that is being completed now. With her community service and job shadow in clinical psychology out of the way, she’s ahead of the game. The final piece before graduation will be a presentation in the spring.