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How to Involve the Elderly in Family Genealogy

Genealogy is a trend that is currently sweeping the world. According to Time Magazine and ABC news, family history is the second most popular pastime in the United States, coming in only after gardening. From keeping family history records and heirlooms to recording stories and taking DNA tests, family genealogy has a variety of ways for anyone to get involved. It is also a great hobby for the elderly, as it gives them a chance, despite their limitations, to remember the past, record their valuable experiences, and feel tied to their loved ones. As free EEOCIPA and RECA home healthcare providers, our professionals have seen the importance of hobbies in seniors’ lives for their health and well-being, and family genealogy is no exception. We have compiled a list of a few ways seniors can participate in this trend as well as a few resources that are at your disposal.

What Family Genealogy Is Today

Family genealogy in the traditional sense used to consist of old papers and sheets that people would compile, sometimes with records and writing preserved here and there from old family members. While this is still one technique to doing family genealogy, there are several others that may be of worth to the elderly. It can consist of videos, stories, photos, and so much more, making it more easily accessible to anyone at any age.

Make Video Recordings

One thing that many elderly people can do is share stories about their lives and about family members from their past. Today, these can easily be recorded and compiled through video, which can be of great worth to many families. Helping an elderly person record stories is actually quite easy (if they don’t know how to do it themselves), and you can consider having a list of questions that you ask them, and it doesn’t really matter if the answers are tangential, either, as it is all being used as a simple record. Some families may be interested in weekly or monthly interviews too, all of which can be uploaded directly to the cloud on platforms like Facebook or Youtube.

Compile Family History Stories

In addition to video recordings, other elderly people may be interested in writing or helping their family members compile records and other written stories about their ancestors which can be usefully passed down to younger generations.

Scrapbooking Memories and Photos

Family genealogy for the elderly may also consist of photos and memories attached to them. Many elderly people have taken up scrapbooking to couple with their genealogical efforts, as this can serve as a sort of art form in addition to remembering the past. Often, this can be done alone or with the help of another person or family member, which makes family genealogy scrapbooking both an individual pursuit or family bonding exercise. Consider involving children in the process too, as children can connect with their elderly family members through photos and stories, thus strengthening relationships and loving families.

 

Find Online Programs

There are several online programs that can help anyone, including the elderly, find family members and keep records of their past. Some of these are paid while others are free. One acclaimed free source includes FamilySearch.org which allows its registered users to input family member trees and even search their database of records. Another source that is similar, but a paid, is the well-known Ancestry.com, which allows for inter-user engagement, being able to even search family trees of other people for lost ancestral lines. There are so many other websites and online programs that a simple Google search for any of them will lead you down a rabbit hole of wonderful resources the elderly can use to do their family genealogy, even if they aren’t particularly “techy”.

Get Started Today

All of these resources and ideas are simple ways to keep the elderly engaged in their families, often helping them by engendering a sense of belonging and worth.

 

In addition, if your loved one is a beneficiary of EEOCIPA or RECA benefits, please contact our office today to see how they qualify for free home health care from our professionals at United Energy Workers Healthcare and Four Corners Health Care.