Family and Memories

Family and Memories

By: Michelle Remold

Sharing stories is important when it comes to passing them down through families. This weekend was my family reunion. We had somewhere around three hundred people come and everyone was sharing stories. It is always fun to trade stories and to look at the family tree to see how it has changed.

There was something different about this reunion though, this was the first reunion my grandma wasn’t able to attend. My grandma has dementia and this was the first time we were not able to bring her with.

Although there were questions about how she was doing, it was fun to hear different stories and memories of her. Spending time with much of my extended family, really made it apparent how important it is to share stories with each other. It is fun to hear stories and share in the memories.

I think that it can be very easy to become wrapped up in our own lives. The thing I enjoy the most about family reunions is that everyone takes the time to catch up with each other and to share the stories they have. As I get older I realize this is important because you never know who might be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia next and what memories might be lost.

???????????????????????????????Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Aging Studies and Nursing Home Administration from Minnesota State University Mankato.

2 Replies to “Family and Memories”

  1. I am a licensed therapist. My mom died last year at age 90 of Dementia. She was at a facility. After she died I have volunteered there. I now facilitate an Alzheimer’s Support group there. In fact one of the groups was exactly one year since she had died.

    I am in touch with some of the managemt who informed me that in the memory care unit there were 2 unexpected deaths in one week and of course it takes its toll on the front line. The manager in the memory center was only in her second week there when she asked if I could provide an opportunity for grief support for the people who are the front line care-givers. Of course I said yes.

    There were only three caregivers at the small group. Two if them happened to have worked closely with my mom. The other was the aide for both of the residents who died.

    I did nothing other than listen and offer them
    A time to talk and cry.. (We all did). They are of course emotionally affected-and yes they are okay- but not really! They can’t be… Caring and loving someone and watching them die- then going right back to the next resident. Most of the aides work more than full time and can’t take time off. They care and love the residents and also shared that the majority of the residents don’t have family visitors. Some would die alone.

    It so happened that both the aides had been there the night my mom passes and the next day when we cleaned pig her place. I didn’t get to give or say proper thanks or goodbyes. I didn’t know that they would have wanted to have gone to the memorial. They didn’t know I would have been honored! But of course they are paid hourly and only can go to memorials if they are off work.

    That day was an unexpected gift for me. I thanked them , learned more about them and laughed and cried with them. They all said they would love to do it again, So would I.

    Now the key is finding a way to give the front line aides time off work paid (my dream) do they could attend support groups go to memorials or have paid time off for even a few hours soon after a death.

    They wanted to be able to say goodbye to the families too. I don’t think I realized until that moment how lucky I was to have them bathe and feed and love my mom.

    I was able to thank them for the times I was consumed with my moms needs and really until she died that was my main priority. I know they put up withe not being as appreciative as I could be.

    Now that the facility has a new memory care manager- I hoping I can help her to give back to the staff….

    Kathy Gilbert

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