Few things are more precious than our memories. As we get older, we may feel more of a pull to share these memories and preserve them in a way that will stand the test of time. There are many creative ways for seniors to preserve, document, and share their life stories. Don’t wait to start saving your memories! It will be a joyful and healing endeavor. Your descendants and loved ones will forever cherish the record you leave for them, and will love hearing the stories of your life and adventures. So, start today. Here are a few creative ways to document and share your life story for seniors.
Write a Memoir
For many seniors, writing down stories is the easiest way to preserve them. The computer is your best friend here, as handwriting can become uncomfortable, especially as you get older. Digital documents are also nearly impossible to destroy or misplace, which will ensure your memories can be enjoyed by all of your family and friends, or can simply be kept safely for you to reflect on personally.
For the best and easiest way to write your memoir, use a program that will automatically save your work to an online cloud. There’s nothing more frustrating than losing chapters of your life to a computer crash! Free online programs, like Google Docs, are a great way to begin and easily share your memoir.
It can feel daunting to write down your entire life. Start simply, with just one page a day. It can be about anything you feel like writing about. Your memories don’t have to be in chronological order or arranged thematically. If you’d like, you can always go back and re-organize your stories in whatever order works best. The important part is preserving your memories, so don’t let fear of imperfection get in your way. Anything you write will be a way to remember your life and share it with your loved ones.
Also, don’t forget to include pictures in your memoir. If you can scan physical photos into your computer and add them to your written text, you’ll get a visual component to your memories.
Make a Scrapbook or Photo Album
If you’re not feeling inclined to write a lengthy document, try simply assembling your treasured photos into a scrapbook or photo book. Add detailed captions and dates if you can. It doesn’t have to be fancy or crafty, it just needs to reflect your life and who you are.
Many online services will allow you to make a digital photo album or scrapbook, if you’d prefer. This can be a good option for folks with arthritis, or people who simply don’t enjoy crafty pursuits. Start by digitizing your photographs. This is a great idea for everyone, because physical photos can fade and become damaged by water, fire, or simply crumble with the passage of time. You can simply take a photo of your pictures with your smartphone or digital camera, or scan them into an all-in-one printer or copier. Enlist the help of a younger relative or senior living staff member if you need any help.
Once your photos are digitized, simple online programs will help you put them together and print them, as well as keep a digital copy. Try Chatbooks for one easy way to put a photo book together.
Keep a Memory Box
Not feeling organized, or short on time? Just assemble all of your important memorabilia into a memory box. Include photos, keepsakes, souvenirs, letters, official documents, ticket stubs—anything that reminds you of the adventures you’ve had throughout your life. If you’re planning to hand this box down to your children, grandchildren, nieces, or other loved ones, you may wish to include a tag explaining the objects in the box and their date of origin. Or, you could type a document listing the items, with a brief summary of the stories behind them. This is a good idea even if you don’t intend anyone else to see your box, because time and memory loss can steal even your most treasured memories. Make sure your box is archival-quality to protect your items, and clearly labeled.
Making videos is a fun, easy way to preserve your memories. Use a smartphone, tablet, or laptop and record yourself telling your stories. You could also have a friend or loved one ask you questions and record your answers, to make things even easier. Make sure to include relevant places and dates when you are describing your memories. Save the videos together, in a clearly marked file on your computer. If you want to get fancy, you can use software like iMovie to edit them together into a film or series of films, or ask a loved one to put them together for you. But even just a file full of video clips will do the trick, too. You can save them to a cloud service like iCloud or Google Drive for the safest storage, or download them to a hard drive or USB drive.
These easy ways to document and share your life story for Seniors will ensure you don’t forget the important things in life, and generations after you can learn from your wisdom and remember you. Stellar Living hopes this helps you keep these memories for many years to come.