There's no better way of connecting to the emotional side of parent care than listening to your parent's life stories. Preserving her stories via recordings or video creates an elder care legacy to share with your family. Encouraging your parent to share stories deepens your parent care bond and helps them review their life.
It's easy to add story collecting to your parent care activities. The basic equipment is a recording device and your questions. Ask open ended questions to encourage your parent to open up and share stories. Save sensitive questions until your parent is comfortable being interviewed.
Here are a few questions to get you started.
- What is your earliest memory?
- Tell me about how you met Mom (Dad).
- Tell me about your wedding day.
- What is your favorite memory of your parents?
- What are you proudest of in your life?
- What kind of things did you like to do as a kid?
- What lessons would you like to pass on to your kids and grandkids?
For more questions check out the Question Sets on the Our Story website, a site that helps people create personal timelines. You can purchase a kit from Project Storykeeper for a more structured approach to collecting your parent's stories. Giving the kit as a gift is a great parent care connector.
Setting the stage for a stronger parent care connection via story sharing
- Schedule your interview at a time of day when she has the most energy.
- Avoid having more than one or two family members present. Having too large an audience might be inhibiting.
- Try not to interrupt your parent once she starts talking.
- Be ready with follow up questions if your parent gets stuck.
- Keep the session relatively short 1-1.5 hours to prevent tiring your parent.
- Story sharing should be pleasant, if your parent is not comfortable answering a question, move on.
Parent care can be much more than taking care of your parent's needs. An Important task is helping your parent reflect on their life and preserve their stories for your family.
Have you added story collecting to your care role? Tell us what you did.
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