The holiday season is almost upon us! This is the time of year where we get together with our extended families and connect over shared memories, holiday feasts and festive activities. These events are great opportunities to spend time with our senior loved ones and learn more about their life stories and the history of our relatives. These precious memories can be lost forever if they aren’t passed along, so taking the time to capture them is not only an enjoyable way to spend time together but is also a gift to future generations. The world has changed so much over the past century and these seniors are our link to what life was really like back then. Plus, telling these stories can be a great brain exercise for someone who might be experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s or Dementia; it can feel good to talk about the remembrances that are still with them, which are often some of their oldest memories.
Here are some great ways to help capture and share your loved one’s life stories.
1) Bring out old pictures and have them tell stories about what they remember from the photo. Write notes on the back of the photo so that you know who is in the photo, where it was taken and any stories that went along with the image. You can also take a picture of the photo to upload to an online scrapbook along with your notes. This can then be shared with family members near and far, so everyone has these important memories.
2) Grandchildren can ask questions of their grandparents about their histories. Help them put together a list of questions about their grandparents childhood and what the world was like when they were kids. This is a great way to help grandchildren connect with their grandparents and can be a delightful experience for our elders.
3) When listening to the stories of the past, record your loved one’s voice on your phone or other recording device. This way, future generations can hear their real voice and the emotion and tone of the senior as they were telling their story. These recordings can be added to a photo slideshow so you can see what the world and your loved one looked like during the time of the memory. You can even make a mini-movie with your phone and capture the expressions of your loved one as they speak about their history.