A few weeks ago I shared this article on how to keep your grandparents engaged in isolation and today I’m sharing what I’ve found to be the incredible benefits of doing this experiment with my grandma. (That's my grandma Nancy in the photo)
Time is of the essence.
It's one of those things that we never seem to have the time to do. Important but never urgent!
However, we never know when it might be the last time we speak to a loved one … so “now” is pretty much the right time to start. It may seem like a daunting project, but if you start with small, easy steps, it can quickly be amazing!
I took some of those first easy steps — and so far, I'm thrilled! Here are 4 benefits I’ve personally found so far.
1. Get to know him/her better
How many times did you call a parent or grandparent just for the obligation of checking in and not because you were legitimately interested in learning something new about them? Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. This happens because we're living in the here and now, with a million things on our mind including the show we want to watch on Netflix.
Why not use part of this time to preserve one short story each week in a memoir? You'll be amazed at what you can learn that you didn't know before.
When you create a memoir with or for a loved one, you learn things you would have never imagined that radically change your perspective of that person. Even more, you can sometimes better understand yourself — that certain ways you behave or think come from your parents or grandparents.
2. Have more things to talk about
When we start learning about their experiences, learnings, sacrifices, and more, we’re likely to start calling to consult on certain topics, to get their opinion or ideas on anything you’re working on, or simply to ask to amplify the story or information they started relating before. With my grandma, when we get on the phone now, I ask about the difference between what we’re living through now versus what she experienced in a similar situation before, or how she would handle something based on her past experience. It makes our conversations much richer and more interesting, and that’s because I now have more topics I’m interested in exploring with her.
3. Brainstorm ideas to be included in the memoir
Maybe, like in my case, you’re the one who decides to start a memoir for a family member. This means that you're the one who comes up with questions and an initial plan. But once you get started, you may be surprised that your loved one starts proposing topics and ideas you hadn’t thought to ask. After all, they know their life better than you do! I'm having fun brainstorming topics with my Grandma and she's really getting into too!
4. Enrich your time together
Overall, I'm finding it great to learn more about a loved one, capturing her story for future generations and letting her family history live long and prosper (wink). But let’s not forget how important this time together is now … and will be forever.
My advice: Take advantage of a service like LifeTales to make your regular chats even more meaningful!
It's easy to start. As they say, a trip of a thousand miles begins with the first step.