What is Reminiscence- It isn’t new-It’s how history was recorded-
Oral storytellers gave us the Odyssey and other valiant tales. Ulysses and Penelope may be coming to your Memorial Day Barbecue this coming weekend.
But storytelling only works if the teller remembers the lines. Family history has to be captured when the older person still remembers. So holiday events are a perfect time to tap into that font before it flickers.
Tips to Capture Elders’s Stories
Here are some tips to use if they want to capture these family tales during Memorial Day weekend with aging parents—a perfect time to do this. If you are gathering at a memorial day barbeque, ask, older family members how they celebrated the holiday that begins supper, when they were young.
Then use empathetic listening.What is empathetic listening? Make all the messages you are giving the older person— tone, how fast you speak, how they are sitting- say, “I want to listen to you
What is Reminiscence-Asking 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.
See if they will follow along.” Did you go to Memorial Day parades when you were a kid or march in one after the war ( pick his war)?” Did your parents have barbecues to start the summer ?”. “What was it like being drafted? Where did you serve?
Music is just next to memory in the brain.
Alive Inside can be used for elders with dementia. So 50’s Rock and Roll, Little Richard, Bill Haley, and if they are older the Four Freshman. Play elder’s music at your event and ask older vets or their wives or widows for stories of the Vietnam War, Korean War, or Iraq.
Two technology tools to help you with Reminiscence for your older client
Story Worth is a legacy-building tool that can help families create a book of memories through weekly easy prompts of questions to ask the older person to create a weekly story about their life resulting in a book after one Year. My daughter gifted it to her Dad and he and the whole family loved the legacy book that was created
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