Elderly encouraged to record life's memories

SARAH DUNN
Last updated 08:58 21/09/2012
Age Concern
SARAH DUNN/FAIRFAX NZ
STORY OF A LIFETIME: Age Concern Nelson manager Sue Tilby, left, and elder abuse and neglect prevention advisor Jess Breeze with a book they have produced to help elderly people share their memories.

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Age Concern Nelson is encouraging people over 65 to connect with others by sharing their life stories.

Manager Sue Tilby and elder abuse and neglect prevention advisor Jess Breeze put together a book named Reflections of My Life for older people to fill in with their memories.

They have been granted around $2000 from a government health promotion fund to hold three workshops at the Senior Citizens’ Hall on October 16, 23 and 30 where they will explain the idea, give some examples of what people might share from their lives and assist any elders with disabilities that made the activity difficult for them.

Sections to fill in include: Historic disasters I remember, My mother and father used to say... , The war times,  and My favourite or famous recipe.

Jess said Age Concern had done some research in the community and noticed there was a need for social outlets where older people could share their life stories.

The workshops were designed to reduce social isolation by helping elders open up and connect with one another before having a cup of tea.

The books would  make a good gift for family members once they had been filled out.

‘‘So many people have stories that they just never get to share or put down on paper,’’ Jess said.

‘‘We think this is going to be very popular.’’

Age Concern workshops cost a gold coin donation and are limited to 25 people in total but the books themselves will be available for $15 each.

They will be launched on the International Day of the Older Person, October 2 and will be available from Age Concern’s stand at the Richmond Recreation Centre.

Sue said the group currently printed the books itself but was looking for a local printing house to sponsor the project.

They had had positive feedback from Stillwater Gardens and Kensington Court rest homes and ultimately wanted to make the programme available to all Nelson and Tasman residents over 65, she said.

Sue’s mother Ngaire Forbes said she thought the programme was ‘‘wonderful’’ because it jump-started her recollection.

‘‘You don’t think about telling your children the little things,’’ she said.

With the aid of the book, she had been reminded of many small details about her life to share with her family.

 ‘‘I think about one thing, and then I think of another thing,’’ said Ngaire.

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 ‘‘I could write a book.’’

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