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Stories Keep Memories of Loved Ones Alive

Ben Williams

As your loved ones grow older in age, you begin to fear you may lose them to death or dementia. Dr. Anita Sharma talks with Deanne Groves, a personal historian, about ways to remember your loved ones once they are no longer with you.


On how to keep the memories of your loved ones alive

Well, of course everyone wants to keep the memory of their loved one close to them for as long as possible. So, there are many ways. Some are more complicated than others. Let me just say first of all, one of the easiest ways is for someone who may be talking with your grandparents, their great aunt or even their mother and they start hearing a story that is special to them from that person’s life. They can just click on that smart phone and start recording them. 

In a more formal setting they may have the family member help write down stories from their lives that are important to the family or important to the individual. We’re not talking biographical details here. We’re talking about the events and experiences that made them who they were. You prompt a person by picking up a photograph of them that you want to know the story behind. 

So, you can catch your stories at the drop of a hat, on short notice or you can make a better plan for capturing something from someone’s lives. 

I want to encourage people to just interact with them and capture those life experiences.

On if this is a good technique to use for people with dementia

Yes, I did an interview with a woman with dementia. What we did was we pulled out photographs from earlier life and that prompted her to remember things that it happened around the time the photographs were taken. Also, music can bring back memories for someone to help them remember where they were when certain songs were being played. A piece of jewelry can bring back a memory of the experience of receiving that piece of jewelry from a boyfriend or a future husband, so you can do many prompts to help someone to remember a unique experience. 

On spending time with a person to keep memories alive

You always have to remember that someone who may be 85 years old was once 25 years old. We can all learn from experiences from our older adults, and I want to encourage people to just interact with them and capture those life experiences.

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