Every single person has their own unique life story worth sharing. Elderly people have a lifetime of experiences and history which can unfortunately be lost over time. The question is how to preserve these stories for younger generations before they are lost to memory loss and death.
There are so many benefits to recording the histories of your elders while they are still around. It helps younger generations connect to and learn from their elders, know more about where their family came from, and understand a real, personal view of history they may only know from books and movies.
Sharing memories is also therapeutic for older people. Reminiscing in both written and oral forms is even used in therapy to combat depression, increase memory and cognitive function, lower stress levels, improve communication abilities, and more.
It may seem overwhelming to start the process; how do you begin to learn about a lifetime? Begin by talking, especially if you can get multiple family members from different generations together to help ask questions or fill in gaps.
Other ideas for recording the memories of your older loved ones include:
Letter writing with younger relatives. Letter writing may be a more familiar and special form of communication for seniors. Having physical letters creates a keepsake which can be kept in a scrapbook along with pictures, documents, and anything else shared in the exchange. It is helpful to have specific topics to guide you in what to ask and write. This can especially be a special project for children.
Look through old photo albums, scrapbooks, diaries, and home videos together. Ask elders to share about what you are looking at and take notes. If they have loose photos you can work together on creating an album or scrapbook while writing information you learn on the back of them or as captions to preserve details of that moment in time. You can even do this with random items or keepsakes around their home.
Start a diary or journal. Have your elders write down every and any memory or experience they remember. There are even guided memory books specifically for grandparents and companies like Storyworth which provide the structure to help prompt memories and support people in finding what to write about.
Create a traditions book. This can be a record of any kind of family traditions or special recipes. Write down the details and add information about them like why they are special or the root of the tradition or recipe, even throwing in pictures or drawings, to create a family keepsake.
At CJ & Associates Care Consulting we support maintaining positive relationships with your elderly family members. Contact us today to make an appointment or to learn more about our services.