Our aging loved ones often repeat the same stories over and over again. As our patience wanes, we blame the repetition on memory issues, but here’s something to think about: there may be another reason for their repetitive stories. As years go by, most of us gain–or attempt to gain–perspective. By retelling personal stories, elders are often, consciously or subconsciously, trying to reframe their life from the perspective of time. If we give them the gift of attentive listening, we may find their stories more interesting and even learn something new about them. Since an elder’s history is part of our own, we might learn something about ourselves, too. This mutually beneficial activity is the perfect gift for dads this Father’s Day.
Create Quality Time: Before my father developed dementia, he had other health problems that required someone to attend to his needs while he healed. At that time, my mother was able to provide most of his care, but I’d often sit with him to give her a break. Those moments with Dad are now some of my most precious memories. I clearly remember him lying back in his recliner as I sat on the couch asking him questions about his unusual childhood. He told me interesting stories about events that I’d had no idea were a part of his history. His stories were not only fascinating, but they were also revealing tales of his past. I’m grateful that I was able to spend this quality time with him because listening to his stories helped me understand him better as a person. Many people put off spending quality time like this with their loved ones until it’s too late. Nobody knows what the future holds, but there is no escaping the fact that our time together is limited. Dad may not be very old...
Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories.“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.” ...Craig William Dayton, Film Composer
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