As people age, children and grandchildren feel the need to learn a lot more about their stories. Perhaps they went through the war and having survived it, vowed never to discuss it after. But now the time has come as they near their demise, to inform their offspring of what life was like back then. This is important so that their stories will never be forgotten and history can be taught – as it should be – to future generations.
Take Boston for example. That city is extremely committed to the importance of memoirs for the elderly. The City of Boston got together with Grub Street Writers Inc. and created The Memoir Project that seeks to “capture these stories systematically and over an extended length of time by teaching elderly residents the rudiments of memoir writing.” Not only is this crucial for generations to come, but it is a fantastic learning skill for the elderly. As one ages it often becomes harder to learn new skills. But it is important to try. This is definitely one way of doing that.
The Boston idea is also to “document the living history of Boston and, by doing so, provide a greater understanding of the city’s past and present for all its residents.”
The elderly can also do this through the web. According to Michigan Live, LifeBio.com was created by Beth Sanders to help people record their memoirs. She explained how important it was since “we’re not drying dishes and telling stories around the sink much anymore. People are more separated from their family members, so if they don’t write down their memories, they really will be lost or forgotten.”
Furthermore, as Dorothea Hover-Kramer, a psychotherapist and author said, “Memoir writing is a great choice for seniors because elder wisdom needs to be shared. With all the electronic communications and media most young people are exposed to, there is little room for passing on the insights of previous generations.”
So don’t put it off any longer. Sit down with your elderly relatives. Show them how to use the web or take them to a class like those in Boston. Or even spend time writing notes on their stories. Do it today; we never know how much time we have left.