Want to increase aging parents’ and everyone’s enjoyment at Thanksgiving? Try storytelling at Thanksgiving using elders’ memories.
As an aging professional, you can bring joy to an older person through reminiscence, storytelling, and oral history for elders
This Thanksgiving, if you really do travel to a family home or grandma’s house, travel safely If not make the safest choice, stay home and use Zoom and include your elderly
parent. You can do oral history for elders if they can use a computer or have a family member or friend who visits often and who lives nearby and is in their bubble serve and share Thanksgiving dinner at their home and use zoom with them to see other family members on the holiday.
Share Your Thanksgiving Story
If you are at a family member’s holiday dinner and use reminiscence for elders by asking everyone to tell their favorite story about a Thanksgiving dinner. Start with midlife members to get the idea and then ask
again parents to share their stories.
Oral history for elders will bring extra thanks to Thanksgiving by learning about an elder’s past and giving them the opportunity to share, which sometimes they do not do in the hubbub of family talking.
The “telling ” also means someone documents. That magically gives the elder and a child social interaction and connectedness. Elders vividly recall their past by telling stories from vignettes in their life – especially life in their 20’s, which sparks the richest recall called the “20’s bump”, according to researchers.
Elders sharing stories means passing on history.
So try storytelling at Thanksgiving, and it becomes intergenerational. The older person is given a chance to give the larger picture of their life and family history to children and grandchildren or extended family, who may not have heard all the details of their grandparents’ or parents’ lives before. My 10 grandchildren have grown up with their now 80-year-old grandfather. telling them exciting stories of when he was a California Highway patrolman. So a dual dose of a higher quality of life for the older person and the aging family is increased through oral history and reminiscence.
Capture Your Families Past Before It Is Gone
Many midlife adults now do ancestry and regret not asking older family members questions when they were alive. Capture that past now on this family holiday. An aging professional or a geriatric care manager can suggest family or friends record the Thanksgiving story as oral history using technology like an i Phone or i Pad.
Story Telling at Thanksgiving with Story Worth
Another great idea to capture reminiscence for elders is giving them StoryWorth.
My daughter sent this gift to her Dad and me; he and I love it. Each week StoryWorth sends a question to my husband that prompts him to write about his past. He writes his reminiscence out longhand and I easily use the dictation on my phone and email his story to Story Worth.
At the end of the year, my daughter will order a bound book of all the stories- a whole collection of memories, an oral history of an elder father that she might never think to ask and will be saved for her and her children to pass on family history. I will order a copy for all her three siblings. Equally important, my husband and I enjoyed writing about his past, and the prompts have brought many vivid memories back to him.