A legacy project is a way that we can record our stories for future generations. It’s one way we can transfer our voice into the future for our children, our grandchildren and our grandchildren’s grandchildren to hear. As we record our memories we better remember our lives and our connections.
It’s also a way we can remind ourselves of our own story, even through the cloud of fragmented memory that might occur as we age. As our memory becomes impaired, giving background knowledge on ourselves to those who are caring for us will be of great benefit. If you move into a senior living community, one that is truly caring and concerned about your total well-being, will ask detailed questions about your likes, interests, family history, birthdays, important occurrences, former pets and more. With this knowledge, they will be able to help us remember, they will help trigger our memory, as we age. We will not feel lost.
Not everyone shares their stories in the same way. We all have our own unique voices and our own talents. For some of us, our stories are told through generations of family recipes. For others, they’re told through photographs and scrapbooks. Still for others, it’s through keepsakes and family trees. These stories are our legacies, they’re how we connect our past with our family’s futures, and they’re how we demonstrate that we are a key chapter in the never-ending story of our families and communities.
LEGACY PROJECT IDEAS
Write A Memoir
While it might be the most obvious way to create a legacy story, writing a memoir can also be one of the most thorough and satisfying. What better way to tell a story than to write it down? You don’t have to begin at the beginning if you don’t want to. Just write what you feel like talking about as it comes to you. You can sort things out as you go. Share your stories as you write them. Who knows? Maybe writing and talking about your past will help you remember some wonderful memories you may have forgotten?
Create A Time Capsule
Sometimes our stories are best told through our possessions. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, the things we love become real in ways that other objects simply don’t. The meaning we attach to objects, be they a signed baseball, a family quilt, candlesticks or things that we can’t even begin to guess about. After all, these are objects of meaning to you. We can’t live your life for you, only you know what’s really important. Leave a note with the Time Capsule about when it’s to be opened. Explain what you’ve included and why. Future generations of your family will be more whole for your efforts.
Create a Recipe Book
Many families have passed down recipe books through generations, with each generation expanding the repertoire of the next. Through recipes we create the kind of memories people don’t usually expect to be able to pass down. Through food our descendants can taste what we taste and can be sustained and nourished both literally and figuratively by those who came before us.
Make a Video or Audio Documentary
Some of us write, others record. We have more tools than ever to record our stories these days. Anyone and everyone can purchase recording equipment relatively inexpensively. Whether you want to take videos of yourself and places of importance for you or if you simply want to tell your story in your own voice for others to hear, it’s easier than ever to become a documentarian.
Many of our residents at The Reutlinger choose to take part in our award-winning art program. Through art our emotions and lives can be expressed visually in a way that is distinct from photographs. A great artist can transfer a part of their soul into a sculpture or onto a canvas. Things of beauty are utterly unique to the creator and can provide warmth and illumination to the homes of their descendants.
For more ideas on legacy projects or to learn about our art program, please contact us at www.rcjl.org or call us at 925.648.2800.