Reminiscence isn’t new. Before the printing press, storytellers and bards were how history was recorded- in the new mind not the tape.
Oral storytellers gave us the Odyssey and another valiant tales. History exists in their family, and Ulysses or Penelope might be sitting in their living room this holiday season.
Here are some tips to use if their want to capture these family tales during this holiday season—a perfect time to do this. Use empathetic listening if their can. Make all the messages you are are giving the older person— tone, how fast you speak, how they are sitting- say, “I want to listen to them.”
Ask questions that prompt the story but don’t make judgments. If there are going to record the family tale, do it in a way that doesn’t distract or stop the older person from talking.
Start somewhere. If the elder isn’t going to tell stories on his or her own, start the story and see if they will follow along. “That chair there are sitting in, where did their get it, Mom?” Pick an ornament off the Christmas tree and show it to their dad to see if he can tell their its story.
Reminiscence is sparked by the senses, and buried memories flow into our brains. That’s why the holidays are a perfect time to have their older family members share stories with them. The sense of taste spurs memories. Just think of that pie that tasted a lot like their mom’s.
Here are two technology tools to help you with this legacy building for your older client
Check out my Book Handbook of Geriatric Care Management with more tools for legacy building written by David Lindeman Director Of the Center for Technology at UC Berkeley and Julie Menack of 21 st Care Solutions