Knowing your family history and passing it along to younger generations is important to most families. As we age and as we have grandchildren and great-grandchildren, we have an opportunity to plan how to pass along the history, traditions, and stories pertinent to each unique family.
Here are some ideas and activities to prompt conversations and deepen your family connections:
- Dig out the old photo albums, especially at family gatherings including multiple generations. Ask the elders to recall their memories of their childhood, of the places they lived, their military experience, their work. (This is also a good time to identify the family members in the photos.) Record the discussion. It’s easy to set up a family YouTube channel and store your family videos (you can make it private and accessible only to the family, if you want).
- Holiday meals: schedule a family dinner, complete with the traditional recipes and activities. Even if it’s not a holiday, many New Mexican families gather to make tamales, a time-honored tradition, and include children and elders who can pass on the tradition. Talk about why your family does certain things at the holidays or to mark occasions—how did that get started?
- Pull out the recipe box. Today, we may save favorite recipes to an online site like Pinterest, but odds are, your grandmother and great-grandmother had a recipe box or favorite cookbook. It’s a fun time to review those as a family, seeing her handwritten notes, identifying the secret ingredient, or seeing how food accessibility and ingredients have changed. The 1950s and 1960s brought cooks many new ingredients that we take for granted today.
- Research your ancestry. Many online sites like Ancestry.com give insight into how small the world really is, and how interconnected we are. If genealogy is of interest, dig into it with your elderly family member. He or she may be able to add connections to aunts, uncles, and cousins, and you’ll all learn more about your ancestors.
- Take pictures. Many senior adults may shy away from having their photo taken but encourage them to be part of group family photos as well as pictures with the grandchildren or great-grandchildren. Years from now, those photos will help the younger generation recall memories and time spent together.
Family and relationships with people we love are really the most important things in life, and home is the heart of that love. At FootPrints Home Care, we understand that seniors want to remain at home, aging in place for as long as possible. It allows those family moments to continue uninterrupted. For senior adults who need some help at home, our senior home caregivers work to keep the house tidy, help with meal preparation or medication management, things to keep the elderly family member safe and happy in the own home.
If we can help your family, let us know. We serve families across central New Mexico and believe in helping you preserve memories of your loved one.