I read a question from a caregiver, asking about family visits to a care community. I learned as a Life Enrichment Coordinator to invite families to share stories about their husband, sister, or friend so we could know, appreciate and learn to love that person as much as they did. Families brought in quilts she made, medals of honor he earned, pictures of treasured cars or doll collections or rose gardens.
This is how it affected all of us:
1) It brought the wonderful life stories back to life, right then and there, and gave us something to talk about. When the listeners heard one story, they added their own stories to the conversation.
2) It gave the family caregiver a way to celebrate his or her family member, renewing feelings of pride and joy about their loved one.
3) It spruced up a regular day, and made it extraordinary.
We all have stories to tell. If we tell them, it can generate life for all who are there to hear them. Create a featured presentation, any day you need one.
My friend in Colorado, an oral historian, shared this with me: her husband went to a storytelling workshop when their son was young. The leader’s advice was, tell the stories now, no matter how young a kid is. My friend agrees, they followed this advice, and is also very glad her grandparents kept telling their stories as she grew up. Now she can write them down and pass them on to future generations.
May we all do the same, for the benefit of your own heart, the heart of the one you care for, and those who join you in care. Type up the best stories, or hand-write them, and leave them on the coffee table, the refrigerator, the dining room table, for all to tell, and to enjoy.
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