Have you ever thought to yourself, “These stories my dad is sharing are so great, I should be writing them down?” Or maybe you’ve played around with the idea of doing a video of your mother telling about her childhood, so your kids and grandkids would have something to remember her by. One of the best things you can do is to make good on that promise. Don’t let the stories of your family get forgotten. Recording an oral history is relatively easy, and a great way to preserve family memories for generations to come.
Our clients at Piedmont Home Health have so many great stories to share, from experiences and lessons learned over the decades. We thought we’d share some tips on conducting an oral history, to help you get started preserving your family’s history, and what better time to start than Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month? Each June, the Alzheimer’s Association spend the month raising awareness and fundraising for research and support for the disease that affects more than 5.7 million Americans.
Many of our clients have loved ones who are experiencing some stage of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Luckily, some of these patients still have the ability to share some interesting stories. Talk to your loved ones and spend time with them now, to make memories to look back on later.
Create an Oral History
· Think about the format you’d like to use. Oral histories can be written (as notes), but often they’re recorded, either video or audio. This has the added benefit of being able to see and hear the person talking.
· Come up with a list of questions. Think of open-ended questions that will really get the ball rolling on a conversation. Some suggestions are: How was your name chosen? What are your fondest memories of your childhood What was your first job? How did you meet Mom (or Dad)? What were your favorite foods growing up? How has the world changed since you were young? How do you want people to remember you?
· Bring pictures. Pictures can often spark memories of a story. It’s also good to write down the names of people in the photographs so you’ll remember who they are later.
· Be a good listener. Don’t be afraid of pauses in the conversation, just allow things to progress in a natural way.
· Allow your oral history to take place over multiple sessions. Rather than trying to rush through, spend some quality time with your loved ones. Having the oral history as a project will give you a great reason to go visit.
For more information on the services we provide, call 336-724-1197.