From a spiritual point of view, there is nothing better than getting in touch with your inner child. But, what exactly does that mean – does it mean to take your shoes off and jump in a puddle? Or, does it mean to lick the spoon from the chocolate cake batter, dance in the rain or play in the mud? Better yet, how about coloring outside the lines for a change with your fave crayons – mine are sky blue and lemon yellow – what are yours?
It can mean any one of those things (or how about all of them?). Or, it can mean to be a brilliant, creative, and savvy caregiver by combining your creativity and your caregiving skills. Why not go down the road to memory lane with your elder? Are you caring for an aging parent who, thankfully, has not seen the devastation of what Alzheimer’s disease can do? We all know about busyness, there isn’t a baby boomer these days who isn’t taking care of their own children, watching out for aging parents, working, and don’t forget the most important relationship – your spouse. However, wouldn’t it be a journey of wonderment to sit and spend a few moments a week simply reminiscing with your elder parent?
Tips on How to Reminisce
Why not start with a prayer starter: Deuteronomy 32:7 remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you. (NIV, Deuteronomy 32:7)
Ask God to bless your elder’s memory and to make it a pleasant experience.
Let Something Go – Pick one chore that you normally do on the daily or even weekly and choose it to be the one – the one that you let go of today. Does the thought of not sweeping the floor make your stomach turn? What about that stack of paperwork – can it wait until tomorrow? Choose one chore that can wait and then just let it go. Once you take on this practice, you will see that not only will your caregiving life improve, so will your caregiving relationship, as well. Take that time now and give it as a gift – a gift to your aging parent and a gift to yourself.
Pick the Right Time – Once you have set aside the time, now pick the right time. Make certain that your elder is not agitated, and in a good space. You don’t want to go down memory lane if your elder is feeling low. Make sure that you are also in the right frame of mind. If you are thinking of your to-do list or what you need to do next, then it is best not to wander down memory lane.
You need to be intentional about this time you will spend together. Being present with, to, and for your elder is key to making reminiscing work its magic.
Use Props – You know that mention about coloring at the beginning of this post – well, why not? Once I hit 50, I actually yearned to smell those crayons again and feel how it would feel again to peel back the paper at the top of my favorite colors.
What about old pictures and movie reels, photo books, cards and letters? Use them all. Sit and chat while you color or reminisce while you pour over old cards and letters.
Make a Mealtime Memory Time – There is no better way I know of than to share a cup of tea or a nice warm lunch while chatting about old times. Ask questions, “Mom, do you remember when….”Pop do you remember that time when”…or…”what was that neighbor’s name that used to pick all the grapes off our vine?”
No matter what you capture on film or on video, there is nothing that holds a memory as miraculous as time spent bringing back your inner child with the person that saw him/her grow and change. And, now in this moment, in this special moment – you can both view the world from the eyes of that child, once again.
What is your most carefree memory growing up as a child that you can bring up with your aging parent or elder? Share/share – that’s fair. What’s your favorite crayon color(s)?