Hi everyone. I have a question to ask you, if that's ok.
Do you have an older relative who is struggling during this horrible pandemic? It’s so difficult to strike the balance between keeping loved ones safe (by following government guidelines) and supporting them emotionally and socially. The resulting isolation is creating its own epidemic of loneliness and depression. This is horrible and so worrying for all of us. I can see it in the older members of my own family and I’m sure you can recognise it in yours.
Older people can often lose what has defined them: family, spouses, friends, careers and even their homes. They need to remember who they were to help define who they are today.
So, what can we do to help the situation? We need to be creative and find ways to ease this loneliness and bring families and loved ones together.
As a life story writer, I know that reminiscence can play huge part in raising our mood. Medical opinion also tells us that it’s good for our health. Professor Tim Wildschut, from the University of Southampton says:
“Nostalgia raises self-esteem, which in turn heightens optimism. Memories of the past can help to maintain current feelings of self-worth and can contribute to a brighter outlook on the future.”
I’ve been writing life stories for ten years now and know that the process brings you closer as a family. Different generations have a greater understanding of family social history and see their loved ones in a three dimensional way and not just as parents and grandparents.
Capturing memories is also a fantastic project for an older person which will bring structure to the day and provide a rewarding focus as they know they are doing something positive for their children and grandchildren. Putting memories into words can also often help with emotional resolution and lower stress levels.
I usually visit clients in their own homes and I am still doing that in a Covid safe way, by wearing a mask and socially distancing. However, government guidelines may not allow that in the near future. We all need to think ‘out of the box’ to find ways to see us through this horrible time, especially if our loved ones are in residential care.
I am therefore developing a range of on-line programmes that might help you and your loved ones. If your loved one doesn’t have access to the internet, you could print off the worksheets and pop them in the post and then talk through them on the phone. Sharing the process together will bring you closer and spark positive conversations, shared memories and laughter.
If you are interested to find out more then please get in touch by sending me a message on the contact page.