Most of us think we have more time than we actually do. Dementia may seem to move slowly, but its stealth blindsides us when suddenly our loved one can’t remember important dates, events, or people. So many times, after my mom passed, I wished I’d asked her about this person or that event. She lost her speech a few years before her death, so even at that point I was unable to get the stories I long for now.

Memory Maker Family History Edition Front Cover

One of the struggles for caregivers is finding activities their loved one can participate in and enjoy. A simple activity such as watching birds at a feeder or paging through a photo album can be the perfect time for a relaxed conversation about family, growing up in a different era, how life has changed. The activity becomes less about doing and more about being. Enjoy a favorite dessert (how about a popsicle or ice cream cone?) and talk about what they loved to eat as a child, or a food they haven’t had for a while.

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Don’t make it a marathon session where you try to get every question answered. Let ideas and memories unfold naturally, with subtle prompts. You’ll be surprised to hear stories they’ve never told before, or details you missed in previous conversations. Record the conversation for both accuracy and as a memento for when you long to hear their voice.