Have you ever wondered about what your aging relative was like when they were young? Do you know all the interesting stories about their life? If not, you may want to consider starting a legacy project with them before it’s too late. A legacy project is a way for a person to hand down their history to younger relatives and generations to come. It’s a collection of memories, photos, and other memorabilia that tells the story of the older adult’s life. It can be a little intimidating to approach the project, especially if you have no idea just what you should collect and how to get started.
What Is a Legacy Project?
Defining a legacy project is easier said than done because they are as individual as the people whose stories they tell. For one person, it might be a box filled with photographs and a journal of memories. For another, it may be more elaborate, with videos, a family tree that chronicles generations, and a memoir manuscript. What your family member includes in their legacy project can be anything they find important, and it can be as simple or as comprehensive as they want or have time for.
Some of the elements experts say can make up a person’s legacy are:
- Ethical Will: This is not a legal document, like a regular will. Instead, it’s a written or dictated record of your relative’s personal stories, thoughts, and values. It can also include any family history they are aware of.
- Family Tree: Create a family tree that goes as far back as the senior remembers. Including medical history can help identify any possible hereditary conditions and may be helpful to future generations.
- Family History Recording: These are written or recorded memories from other people in the family.
- Scrapbooks: Building a scrapbook of pictures, letters, and other memorabilia keeps the information organized and usable. It may also prevent it from being lost.
- Legacy of Love: Documentation of decisions the person has made about their future, including end-of-life planning, a living will, etc.
With the older adult, decide which of these items to include. Then, start by simply having conversations with your loved one. Ask open-ended questions that allow them to reminisce. Take notes or record the conversation. Spend some time going through photographs. Ask questions about items that are of particular importance to the senior, like pieces of jewelry or a family heirloom.
A senior care provider can assist your aging relative to work on their legacy project. Since there are many resources available on the Internet, a senior care provider can help the older adult to conduct research. A senior care provider can also drive them to the library to use resources they may have for building a family tree or looking into family history. If your family member needs help organizing photos or other items for a scrapbook, a senior care provider can help with that, too.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring professional senior care in Pelham, AL, call and talk to the staff at Lipford Home Care (205) 623-5700.
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