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
CONNECT WITH CATHY CRESS MSW
What is the Normal Family vs Dysfunctional?
The normal family is the hand grenade compared to the nuclear bomb of the dysfunctional family. When both are faced with a filial crisis with an aging parent being dependent and the adult child needs to take over they cower or explode.
Dysfunctional families have many characteristics.
They lack the ability to resolve conflicts and have frequent psycho-social blockages that prevent the family from growing emotionally. They fail miserably at moving through all family stages and orchestrating family rituals.
Most life transitions in the family, like birth, adolescence, and marriage have been very difficult to make, marked by a lack of support from the parents. Every holiday might have been drunkenly ruined. The parental figures are usually not in charge, nurturing, or able to establish establishes clear rules. They have never created an excel spreadsheet on tasks to do to orchestrate a holiday. Like a disease spreading down generations, they never knew how themselves, as their parents wrecked the holidays too.
Bad or just NO Family Leader
There are murky roles for everyone in the dysfunctional family with the chief role of the parent characterized by a lack of leadership of the family and the ability to nurture the children. Mom rarely became the high priestess on Hanukkah or Christmas, the family members generally do not believe the parent is there for them and can be depended upon. The dysfunctional family is colored by bloody strained relationships and unresolved conflicts and drunken ruined Christmas memories
Dysfunction Families Inspiration For Great Literature
is the inspiration for great literature. O’Neil’s wrenching plays A Long Day’s Journey into Night” portrays the most miserable of dysfunctional families. Alcohol, secrets that have been kept by all for generations splatter the pages of this great play like it does in all the ruined holiday’s children of dysfunctional families recall with horror. Prince of Tides a tale of a southern dysfunctional family gives us timelier glimpses of a family whose center can never hold together and whose blood oozes all over everyone from one generation to the next. Award-winning plays and films, like Tracey Letts August in Osage County about a ruined ritual funeral from hell when Julia Roberts tries to beat up drug-addled, drunk presiding mother Meryl Streep.
Burnt Latkes or the Christmas cookies-inflame the family
When Mom does not make the very small things she was able to pull off like the latkes or the Christmas cookies- she always made every Hanukkah and Christmas, or burns them to a crisp- someone else has got to be the cook, and resentments skyrocket – tempers flare – and the torch just might never get passed.
Someone must take over the holiday rituals
The family is again thrown into crisis. That means someone must take over and the dysfunctional family has no model or spreadsheet to pull off the holidays while caring for a parent who did not care for them.