Capturing memories when a loved one has Alzheimer's disease

Sharing memories with the younger generation is an important part of creating a lasting legacy. Listening to these life experiences helps caregivers bond with older adults. If your aging parent in Michigan has dementia, it can help you capture cherished memories before they slip away.

The StoryCorps Memory Loss Initiative (MLI) can help.

This non-profit organization records the stories of people from all walks of life for future generations. In 2006, StoryCorps began the MLI to preserve the stories of people with memory loss.

Until recently, all MLI interviews were conducted in a mobile studio or in StoryCorps booths located in major US cities. Some of the 2,000+ recordings are available at the StoryCorps Memory Loss Initiative website. All of the interviews are archived in the Library of Congress and are now part of the nation’s oral history.

The StoryCorps App

Thanks to technology, Alzheimer’s caregivers in Michigan can preserve their senior loved one’s stories and contribute them to the Library of Congress archive.

In March, StoryCorps introduced a mobile phone app that makes it possible for anyone with a smartphone to record an oral history interview and contribute to the project.

The software includes a tutorial that helps users to set up the interview space, to ask good questions and to edit the interview. The app features a sharing button that instantly uploads the interview to StoryCorps and the Library of Congress collection.

Do-It-Yourself Recording

You don’t need a smartphone to preserve precious memories. Caregivers can use the Commemorate: Memory Loss Initiative Toolkit to record an Alzheimer’s loved one’s important life stories. This guide was created for dementia care centers, but family members will find it useful, too.

Reminiscing with a senior loved one has many benefits, including

  • Making them feel important and valued. Interviews place an older adult at the center of attention. Research has shown that sharing life’s memories with an audience can boost self-esteem and optimism.
  • Strengthening relationships between caregivers and older adults. Conversation and interaction help people connect and understand one another.
  • Exercising the mind. Reminiscing can serve as a stimulating mental exercise for an Alzheimer’s loved one.

We hope this helps you start recording the memories with your Alzheimer’s loved one for generations to come. If you have questions about specialized dementia care, contact one of the Heritage Senior Communities near you.