Recording Memories before They Slip Away Completely

For Better or For Worse, 8/3/2008 Mementos Help preserve memories. From the Mayo Clinic’s suggestions for helping people with Alzheimer’s cope with the disease. “Alzheimer’s steals away memories, but tangible mementos can help people remember their past.” [via Storycatching, by Pat McNees]

This is a counterpoint to the stance I took during the Q&A article, “I want to interview my parents. Does that mean I think they’re at death’s door?” In the Q&A, I assumed from the questioner’s age that his parents were in good health. But there are those whose parents are not in good heath, and Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia come and steal away what this article calls the tapestry woven from the memories of events in a person’s life.

Alzheimer’s disease gradually robs people of the memories that make up their tapestries. You can help mend these holes by creating a tangible repository of memories — in a scrapbook, videotape or audiotape.

In addition to writing memories in a journal, or creating a scrapbook with photographs and other memorabilia, the article suggests recording an interview and allowing the person to reminisce.

Depending on the status of your relative’s or friend’s memory, you may also want to interview neighbors, co-workers, old friends and other family members and record their memories of your loved one.

Here’s the Mayo clinic “create a scrapbook” suggestion writ large, A Sunday comic from For Better or For Worse (Lynn Johnston), where the caregiver wife does exactly what this Mayo Clinic article suggests—show the person photos from a scrapbook. (I’m need to read backwards in the series to find out the man’s ailment—it might be a stroke. Thank you, Google. yes, it was a stroke.)


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Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 13, 2009 in • InterviewingPersonal History
3 CommentsPermalink

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Hi Susan:
This is sideways from the specific post topic, but I thought you’d be interested. Pasadena Heritage has a local oral history project.

Perhaps other towns have something similar?

Petrea Burchard  on 02/15  at  10:24 AM

I really enjoy your blog and feel like I’ve learned a lot here.  I hope you will accept the KreativBlogger Award

Cherie  on 02/23  at  04:56 AM

summertime gatherings are the perfect time to discuss family Personal History.  Get the memories first-hand from the family members who made them and write your life story to pass on to future generations.

[edited by moderator]

amyamster  on 06/21  at  07:42 AM

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