Write This Down
By: Michelle Remold
Family recipes, stories, and memories are often passed down through families. Whether it is hearing about how grandparents met, about what it was like when my grandparents went to school and were growing up, or learning how to make banana bread, these are priceless things that can be shared for years to come. However, when Alzheimer’s or dementia is in the picture these stories and memories can be lost.
When my grandpa was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I remember him going through old photo albums with me and telling me the stories behind the pictures. Many of the photos and stories were about World War II, however being seven or eight I didn’t pay as much attention as I would have when I was older. My grandma tells us stories constantly about her life growing up and things about my grandpa from when he was growing up. It soon became clear to me that someday we wouldn’t always be able to listen to my grandma tell us the stories or explain old photos to us and I decided that it was important to write them down.
I have written a few papers where I had interviewed my great-grandma, great-aunt, great-uncle, and my grandma. It provided me the opportunity to learn more about family history and better get to know my family history. I bought my grandma a book that walks her through her life and asked her if she would write in it. It covers things like why her parents picked her name, what her favorite subjects and sports were, what her first job was, and a variety of other things. My brother and I have enjoyed reading what she has added to the book.
I think that writing memories and stories down are very important. If the person with Alzheimer’s or dementia are in the early stages of the disease, having them write memories they have or having someone else write them, can be important. Looking back and reading the memories and stories can be interesting and it ensures that they will be passed on for years to come.
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.