Encouraging The Elderly
To Journal & Record Their Memories
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As a caregiver, you can encourage your loved one to express themselves through writing and drawing. Both writing and drawing increases their sense of purpose. Through another form of writing, which can be storytelling, you can support your loved one to write about their lives so that children and grandchildren will learn more about who they were through their recording their stories, memories and thoughts. This is a wonderful way to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation as well.
If it is difficult for your loved one to write or draw, you might record their stories on tape or even video them to create a lasting memory that will be of great benefit for themselves as well as those who will be able to refer to their writings, tapes or videos.
Writing is also a way for the elderly to express difficult emotions and the changes they are going through with their illness as well as end-of-life issues they are facing. Writing is also cathartic. It can give them more self-esteem, a sense of purpose and meaning in their final days. It brings an inner peace, relieves depression and anxiety and relaxes the body.
Many times you can encourage them and guide them through suggestions as to what they might include in their writings. Remember at all times not to judge or criticize for they are expressing themselves and either writing or speaking from their own perspective.
Some questions you may use to spark their memories are:
You can encourage them to write or speak on just about anything: Friends, marriage, love, mistakes they have made and learned from, their wisdom, getting older and much more. Be creative and use your imagination, to spark theirs. Use old photographs to speak to them.
This can be a remarkable healing experience not only for them, but those who will benefit from reading or listening to their responses.
© Copyright 1999-2000 by Gail R. Mitchell