I watched my dad and parent-in-laws grow old and it is now my turn to care for them. Well, in a modified way. They are still very independent. What I have noticed over the years is the ever increasing number of stories they tell. Many are repeats, but they have a sense of joy each time they tell their story. A joy as if it were the first time they recited it. But my thoughts go out to the many elderly parents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Some too frail to talk, others disengaged. For those who can vocalize their life stories, who is listening?
The real question is, are our parents given the opportunity to speak their life stories? What we have failed to notice, as a society, is the therapeutic effect of simple actions. Simple actions such as person centered social engagement can have a profound effect on a person. An effect that could be the difference between taking an antidepressant regimen or not. Non-pharmacological interventions have long been my favorite topic of discussion. Adding new interventions to my list is just as rewarding. Personal experience life stories ignite youth and happiness. Why not allow people to share them, verbally or written? A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a thousand words may be worth a lifetime. Let’s make a difference!