Helping your loved one share their life story is a meaningful task. It is a task that can help bring you and your loved one closer together while allowing him or her to reap the mental benefits that come along with reminiscing and storytelling.
At Franklin Park® Senior Living, with retirement communities in San Antonio, Texas, and the surrounding areas, we know the value of these stories. Past generations have experiences and wisdom that should be preserved for their children, grandchildren, etc. Here are a few ways to help the senior in your life share their life story.
The Benefits of a Life Story
Telling your loved one’s life story can create a genuine connection between you and your loved one. On top of this, it can give younger generations and family members a better understanding of who their loved one is, what he or she was like when they were their age and highlight similarities between them.
Journaling is one way of sharing a life story, and it comes with several health benefits. Journaling has been shown to:
“Tim Ferriss calls journaling the deloading phase in life. He explains, “I use it as a tool to clarify my thinking and goals… The paper is like a photography darkroom for my mind (medium.com).”
Scrapbooking Their Story
Another great way to share a life story is through scrapbooking. Scrapbooking can help showcase your loved one’s life in photos with short captions or excerpts that explain the context of an image. The human mind is unique in the way a picture can help us remember, sparking a memory or allowing us to revisit a previous day or moment.
If your loved one has family photo albums, start there, and try organizing the collection in chronological order. Once you’ve organized the photos, you can begin discussing the events with your parent or loved one. Not all photos will spark a memory, but a picture is worth a thousand words. It can still highlight your loved one’s personality, past family gatherings, or showcase period differences like clothing and hairstyles!
A scrapbook is a wonderful way to tell your loved one’s life story because it doesn’t have to be full of only photos; it can hold momentos and treasured items that showcase moments of your loved one’s life.
Writing Their Life Story
Writing or helping your loved one write their life story is another beneficial way of storytelling.
Start with questions from their childhood or teenage years and ask questions that may spark a memory. These questions could include:
- Where did you grow up? What was it like growing up there?
- What were your parents like?
- What did you get in trouble for when you were a child?
- What was your first job?
- Who was your first big love interest?
Answering questions like these can paint a picture of your loved one’s life story, who they are, and how they overcame challenges they may have faced in their life.
According to Judy Willis MD, a neurologist, “the practice of writing can enhance the brain’s intake, processing, retaining, and retrieving of information… it promotes the brain’s attentive focus … boosts long-term memory, illuminates patterns, gives the brain time for reflection, and when well-guided, is a source of conceptual development and stimulus of the brain’s highest cognition (medium.com).”
Family Reunions and Social Gatherings
Another unique way to tell your loved one’s life story is by hosting a family reunion. Family reunions are an intergenerational gathering that can connect your loved one with family members they may not have seen in years.
It can allow your loved one to discuss their life story with multiple generations at once. A family reunion or gathering can be big or small, depending on the size of your extended family.
There are several ways to share your loved one’s life story, but the how is less important than the why. Capturing these memories and experiences will allow you and your loved one to document your family history and share it for years to come.
Franklin Park® Senior Living, with retirement communities in San Antonio, Texas, and surrounding areas, understands the value of storytelling and sharing your loved one’s life story. Our communities allow seniors to connect and share their stories and personal experiences with those who have similar experiences. We always invite family and friends to visit with their loved ones in our communities and hear all of our resident’s life stories!