Margie Veis, executive director of Oakmont of Santa Clarita, is encouraging grandchildren to learn their family history so they can carry their grandparents’ legacy from generation to generation.
“A great activity that someone can do with their grandparent is bring old pictures, and try to get them to tell stories,” explained Veis. “Write notes on the back of the pictures so you know who that is or where that was — get them to talk about that story.”
Veis notes that this activity will not only be beneficial for the grandchild, but it will also be fun for the grandparent.
“It’s also a great way for your grandparent or your great grandparent to leave that legacy… to remember those good times,” said Veis. “It’s a great brain game for someone that might be dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Those are the memories that are still there.”
Getting the stories behind the photographs is a way of further strengthening the connection between grandchild and grandparent and understanding the significance of the picture, Veis pointed out.
“You can find a box of pictures, but you don’t know who those four men are, you don’t know what that beach was, you don’t know where they spent the summers or their first job or the hardships that they went through to get us to where we are now,” explained Veis.
While listening to stories of the past, Veis noted it could be recorded on someone’s phone, adding the element of hearing the emotion and tone of the senior while they tell the story.
“You could record it, you can get their voice, you can actually get that story,” she said. “That’s another really easy, fun way and then you can download it… With all the apps that are out there, you could actually make a little movie about your history.”
Veis added that this is a way to help grandchildren learn “what was important to them in life, (and) what made them who they are.”
It is important these stories are not forgotten because the landscape of the world has changed so much, and the only ones who can truly understand what the world was like back then are those who lived it.
“We have people that have … seen the world and they lived through the depression and they lived through the war and they didn’t have much,” said Veis referring to the seniors living at Oakmont of Santa Clarita. “We have others that have worked with movie stars and worked in the government, and there is so much history just in this community.”