As I was putting up my Christmas tree this year, I was struck at how many memories my tree represents. There are those handmade ornaments from my children (who are now grown with children of their own), a painted ornament from a resident named Edith, numerous ornaments with pictures of my grandchildren and even a handmade ornament from my mother-in-law while she was a resident at Argent Court. I really hate putting up a tree but absolutely love taking the opportunity to reminisce as I carefully place the ornaments.
This exercise got me to thinking about what memories would be represented by our residents if they were putting up their “tree of life.” It is really fun listening to the residents recall memorable events in their lives, from the day they met their spouse to their experiences growing up. So many great memories.
In one of our communities, we have a tree dedicated to residents who have passed away. It is really a humbling experience to reminisce about all the wonderful people that have come through our doors since our inception in 1998.
At Argent Court, we try to design activities that will elicit memories of days gone by which help them process all the great things their life entailed. One of the activities we do is during June, we have a wedding social where residents bring pictures of their spouses (if deceases) and wedding photos. We go around the room and discuss how they met their spouse. Some of the stories are hilarious and certainly some represent a much different time. During one of the socials, I shared my own wedding video where our best man, when asked to present the rings, pulled a CrackerJack box out of his pocket and dumped out the ring. The audience howled and the residents got a real laugh as well.
Take a few minutes to reminisce with your family members as often as possible. They really like sharing their experiences and it gives them wonderful memories to cling to. We all love remembering the good times – our residents are no different.