Interviewing your Elderly Parent or Spouse - Precious Memories to Preserve

Another way to connect with your elderly loved one – especially now during the Covid pandemic – is to interview them so you can record their life’s story and share with family and other relatives.


Interest in genealogy has been growing over the last number of years as more people seek the story of, and connection to their family’s history. Add to that the need to interview seniors while their memories are still intact, and the importance of recording them becomes crucial.


Along with names, dates of births, deaths and marriages, is their narrative of how things were “back in the day”. Your loved one has their own story to tell that lets you not only understand where you and your family came from, it provides you with a glimpse into how their life was impacted by the events of the day that led them to make the choices they did which, ultimately, led to you!


With technology today, there are applications (apps) that will transcribe audio/visual recordings so you can also have the interview in a typed format if you need it without the hassle of doing it yourself.


Equipped with a few prepared questions to ask can make the interview session a fun and interesting activity. To help to jog your loved one’s memories, hard copy questions could be delivered to them ahead of time. Frequently, one set of memories can trigger others, and allow for a delightful cascade of stories.


On top of the important information of family members’ names and their dates of birth, marriage and death, questions can tease out the challenging, endearing or downright silly experiences of childhood. Recollections of later school years, friendships, careers and civic or military service, will give you a clearer picture of how things were way back when.


A good idea would to create a series of interviews; focusing only on one aspect of their lives each time so as to not tire your loved one too much. A bonus to conducting the interviews this way is the very act of recalling past experiences and stories actually helps your loved one improve their memory!


Older grandchildren can get involved as well. Along with keeping connected to their grandparents, this is a great life lesson for them, and for you, as knowing more about your family’s past can give you an opportunity to acknowledge and respect the efforts and sacrifices your ancestors made along with receiving a better sense of connection to your family’s past.


© Nancy Glover | Aging With Grace www.AgingwithGrace.ca

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Nancy Glover, a healthy aging advocate, mentors extraordinary women and men who have stepped into the challenging role of caring for their elderly spouse or parent by managing their well-being in the later stages of life. Blending first-hand expertise with practical step by step systems to support the needs, goals, and desires of the elderly spouse or parent, Nancy helps caregivers maneuver the complex and often challenging role with supportive advocacy and resources that equally focus on everyone’s well-being. Learn more about her at www.agingwithgrace.ca and sign up to receive timely information and strategies to empower caregivers and families in transition.


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