Many people around the country are now recording or even videotaping their elders as they tell stories about their past. This works for some. However, you need to know your loved ones. Not everyone wants to be on stage, so to speak, and preparing to record, even discretely, could take the spontaneity and fun out of the experience for some. Others may love it.
My family would have been put off by a formal approach with a tape recorder. For them, the stories were a natural part of some one-on-one time when I could ask a question that may stimulate a memory. They also often talked about the past with each other, and if I was nearby I’d soak it in. I do admit to wishing I’d been taking notes because I know I’ve lost details. Yet I’m heartened by the new research that shows that the telling of the stories may have helped their cognition as much as their moods.
Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol