I love stories. When I was a teenager, I’d encourage grandparents to relate stories of their young years struggling to survive on the wind-swept prairie. When I grew older, I was fascinated by the stories my parents and in-laws told of their early years of growing up during the Great Depression. Little did I know at the time that peoples’ stories would become the springboard for my life’s work. Now there is mounting evidence that encouraging our elders to reminisce about their past is therapeutic as well as enjoyable.
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 onstage, 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.