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Telling Senior Stories at Senior Living: Listening to Memories

by Sarasota Bay Club

seniors sharing memoriesFor seniors with Alzheimer's and dementia, memory is a tricky thing. Sometimes, the events of yesterday aren't half as clear as memories of something that happened fifty years ago. Regardless of how unclear memory is, many seniors have a burning desire to share those memories, reminiscing about important moments from their earlier years. Offering the ability to tell those stories is an incredible gift for many seniors. These powerful, touching stories are often brought to life with startling clarity: many seniors are able to very clearly remember moments from childhood, using all of their senses to clearly describe those amazing moments.

Related Blog: Top 5 Tips to Avoid Memory Loss in Your Senior Years

This activity is very useful both for memory care facilities and for seniors who simply want to reminisce about the past.

Collecting Memories

In senior living communities, hearing stories isn't the problem. Many seniors gather throughout the day, and talk naturally turns to the past and to the things that they remember, especially for individuals who have similar stories or shared memories. Collecting those memories, however, can be a bigger challenge. There are several strategies that facilities can use to help encourage sharing memories.

Create literary magazines, newspapers, and newsletters. Offering the opportunity for publication will encourage many seniors to share their memories on paper, while others will enjoy reading the stories they've offered.

Provide recording opportunities. It doesn't take a professional setup to allow a senior the opportunity to share their stories in a recorded form, especially with the ready availability of recording technology today. Open up a studio or simply sit around and chat with senior members of the community while running a tape recorder. It may be amazing what comes out as seniors are encouraged to talk about the past.

Offer special holiday opportunities. There's nothing quite like the holidays for bringing old memories to the forefront. The smell of baking cookies, the sight of Christmas lights, and the sounds of holiday music can all encourage seniors to bring up memories of previous years.

Capture those memories in an ornament, whether through an audio recording or on paper. These simple steps will make it possible for seniors' families to enjoy those precious memories every year around the holidays.

Create scrapbooks together. Looking through old pictures is the perfect opportunity to listen to senior stories. In many cases, pictures can bring up memories long forgotten. Many seniors are eager to share their stories and may enjoy preserving memories in a way that future generations of the family will be able to share.

Capturing seniors' stories is rapidly gaining in popularity. Many senior living communities are already looking for ways to jump on this trend--and in those that aren't, there's genuine interest in and use for the idea. If you're looking for a community where you will be encouraged to share your memories, contact us to learn more about our community, including our memory care facility, where patients with Alzheimer's and dementia are encouraged to share their important memories of the past.

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