Each family has a history unique to its members and preserving that history passes down traditions and important information to its youngest members. Today, recording that history is easy, and can be a fun, enjoyable experience for the senior member and the rest of the family. There are booklets and even apps that specialize in recording a person’s life story!
While there are companies who specialize in crafting video histories, using your smart phone’s video camera can record segments. Upload them to your channel on YouTube, accessible only to family members if you choose, and everyone can learn and enjoy the experiences and lessons of your family elders.
How to get started? First, bring the subject up with older family members. This shouldn’t be seen an end-of-life event but as preserving the special memories along the way. If he or she is reluctant, ask if they’d be comfortable if you helped them dress nicely or fixed their hair first? Everyone can be a bit self-conscious on camera!
Ask how they would like to do the sessions: you could start chronologically with their memories about childhood (perhaps the homes they lived in, their parents and siblings, favorite school memories, etc) or with old photographs to prompt responses.
Set your smartphone on a tripod or stable surface, about three to four feet away; make sure there is no background noise. Sit near the smartphone and ask questions or engage in a conversation while you record. Let the conversation go where the memories take you! Here’s a helpful list of questions to help you get started.
If your loved one is a veteran, their history can also become part of the Library of Congress Veteran History Project. You can submit original, first-hand accounts in written stories, oral history audio files, photographs and memorabilia, and more. Learn more about preserving your vet’s history here.
The senior home caregivers at FootPrints Home Care love getting to know each of our clients; we often hear wonderful stories about their youth and adult lives. We hope families will record those for posterity! If we can be of help to your family across the central New Mexico region, please contact us.