A Great Life Story — How to Encourage a Senior Loved One to Open Up
Seniors, by their very definition, have lived long lives, which means that they often have some amazing stories to tell. Sometimes, though, older individuals have trouble opening up and expressing themselves, regardless of how compelling their stories may be. Although there’s nothing wrong with someone who values an economy of words, some of the greatest gifts that seniors have to give to subsequent generations lie within the memories that they have stored away inside of them.
Getting seniors to tell their stories can be easy if you’re caring for loved ones who are naturally good at spinning yarns and enjoy expressing their gift of gab. But what is one to do when a senior who has lived an amazing life seems unable to share aspects of that life with those who are closest with them? It can be frustrating, to say the least, and you don’t want to nag your loved one to the point where they become even more reluctant to express themselves.
Thankfully, there are a couple of great tips you can take advantage of to help your senior loved one open up and share their remarkable life stories.
Let’s take a look!
Ask Engaging Leading Questions
One of the mistakes that family members and others often make when they want a senior loved one to share their memories is to expect them to share on their own. In many cases, seniors simply don’t look at their lives with as much wonder as others do; they see their unwillingness to share as a display of humility, and they don’t want to brag about the amazing things they’ve done in their lives.
But when you can pay attention to the times when they’re a bit more talkative, it gives you the opportunity to ask the right questions to ensure that they open up and start sharing their memories.
Sometimes the opportunity to hear a wonderful story will appear out of the blue, so when your loved one starts talking, be sure to encourage the process by asking how events made them feel, which is a great way to spark more memories. Also, be sure to ask about details so you can place the stories in context, but don’t ask too many questions about specifics — doing so can tire your senior loved one out, making it less likely that they’ll continue to share.
Tell Some of Your Own Stories
One great way to encourage your loved one to share is to start by sharing a memory of your own. Do you recall a time when you shared a meaningful experience with your parent or grandparent? Tell the story and pay attention to how they respond. Ask them if they remember the same incident. Maybe they remember things a bit differently, which is a great opening for you to ask them to explain. Additionally, telling your own stories sets a tone of vulnerability that’s often conducive to storytelling.
To learn more about how you can engage a senior loved one and ensure that they continue to make great memories, contact Always Best Care today at 1 (855) 470-CARE (2273). We can’t wait to hear your story!