Sharing the Past: Ways to Encourage Storytelling when Visiting Aging Loved One

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Finding ways to stay sharp is especially important as we age. One of the more fun ways to exercise the brain is through storytelling. Sharing personal experiences is a great way for seniors to enhance cognitive function, improve communication, and foster social connections. Here are five simple and effective ways to prompt storytelling when visiting your aging loved one.

Finding ways to stay sharp is especially important as we age. One of the more fun ways to exercise the brain is through storytelling. Sharing personal experiences is a great way for seniors to enhance cognitive function, improve communication, and foster social connections. Here are five simple and effective ways to prompt storytelling when visiting your aging loved one.

1. Bring a Photo Album

Looking back on pictures of birthday parties, sporting events, and even “trendy” clothing choices brings up fun family memories and stories from back in the day. According to a study from the National Center for Biotechnology, reminders about personal experiences, like family photos, can boost moods and reduce stress for seniors with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. 

2. Play a Game with Question Prompts

Table games like TableTopics or Would You Rather are designed with interesting prompts that encourage sharing. These unique prompts give you a structured way to get your loved one excited about the conversation. It encourages creative thinking and is a fun opportunity to learn something new about your loved one!

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3. Pull out a Box of Treasures

Looking through old trinkets, jewelry, awards, or clothing often encourages storytelling. As you sift through the items together, ask questions like: "Where did you get this?" or "Who gave this to you?" Maybe even encourage them to try on some of the items! This activity can help stimulate cognitive function, encourage recall, and improve self-esteem for your loved one.

4. Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

A change of scenery can be a good way to promote sharing! Take a drive to significant and familiar places like a childhood home, a favorite park, or their old high school. When you revisit these locations, ask questions about their favorite moments there. Nostalgia can instill a sense of self and wellbeing in individuals! 

5. Share a Favorite Dish 

Our sense of taste and memory are linked, so what better way to spark storytelling than delicious food? Consider making a family favorite recipe or going out to your loved one’s favorite ice cream shop, and see what stories it brings up. Ask questions like "Where did you get this recipe?" or "What’s your favorite order from here?" Sharing a bite and the associated memories can lead to a sense of connection and joy for both you and your loved one.

As a memory care community, we understand the importance of personal connection and cognitive stimulation. At Chapters Living, we're passionate about helping families create meaningful experiences and helping slow the effects of dementia through intentional activities. 

Want to learn more about our story? Call our office today.

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