Gift Becomes Priceless Family Treasure For Generations
You might have read a recent article from the LO Nov. 4th issue titled, "5 Couples Celebrate 266 Years of Marriage". The second-longest married couple, Betty and Don Wilson, received two special gifts from their daughter, Mary, on their 64th wedding anniversary in September. One was a DVD with pictures of the highlights of the couples lives together (including them as teen-agers, wedding pictures and pictures of Don in his Air Force uniform) set to music from their era. The other anniversary gift was a beautiful, hard-cover, bound 8 X 10 inch book with more pictures of the couple and their family thru the years. Both precious gifts took on new meanings to Don and his children when Betty passed away last week. Now Don (who resides at Crestmont North Nursing Facility) is able to view the DVD of him and his beloved wife and children on a big screen TV, and he can look thru his hardcover "Love Story" and reminisce about the love of his life as he treasures the memories of their "Happily Ever After" at any hour of the day or night.
As an Activity Director in long-term healthcare I would suggest that families put their parents or grandparents "Life Story" (in photos they already have) onto a DVD to be preserved forever. This gift to your elderly loved ones (especially those with dementia or Alzheimers Disease) can be a powerful tool in triggering the memories that remain. If you are not tech-savvy you can give the photos to a family member who is, or there are many services available to put home movies, slides and/or photos onto a DVD. There is also software available to touch-up slides that might be in poor condition. Many stores or on-line websites who develop photos offer the hardcover, bound book for very reasonable rates; the books vary in pages and number of photos that can be used. Walgreens recently offered a 12 page Memory Book for $10.00. For nursing home use I recommend the DVD over the book; several copies can be made for all family members. Google offers Picasa, a free download where your pictures can be edited. These DVD's are the same as those used at wakes, but I encourage families to create them now while their loved ones can enjoy them, because, after all, they are the stars of the show.