Preserving the Life Stories of our Seniors

Preserving the Life Stories of our Seniors

Many families today are discovering and preserving one of life’s greatest treasures…the stories in the hearts and minds of our parents and grandparents. In our digital age, more and more families are saving their cherished family memories in digital formats like hard drives and DVDs. They have recognized the value of recording these stories for themselves, their children, and generations to come.

The art of getting these stories has taken on many forms. is a website where a loved story can be traced through genealogy. helps store a loved one’s physical memories of old film, photos, slides, and tape through digitization. StoryCorps is an independently funded 501(c)(3) organization. Its mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.

In 1994, Spielberg funded a project to interview 50,000 Holocaust Survivors around the world. I worked on that project interviewing and recording the stories of those seniors. I was so emotionally moved by those stories that I started my company, Personal History Interviews, where we interview seniors one-on-one, and capture their unique memories.

When we encourage our aging loved ones to remember their past and talk about their memories and feelings, it validates the importance of their life’s experiences and strengthens family bonds. It reveals previously unknown facets of their character and past, helping us better understand who we are, where we are, and how we got here.

Through their own words, they are able to relive the accounts of their lives and experience a full range of emotion. These are not just the heroic stories of war or the building of a business empire. They are the real stories of struggle, failure, heartbreak, success, and love.

When you are ready to discover the treasures of your family, there are two major factors to consider when selecting a professional interviewer/videographer:

  • They have the best equipment. Their cameras, microphones, and lighting are going to give you the highest quality results. Remember, these treasured memories are going to last for generations to come and they should be preserved in the best possible manner. This is no time for the do-it-yourselfer!
  • They have the background and experience in working with and recording seniors. They have a plan with the best questions to ask to gain more insight into your loved one. Plus, having a non-family member in charge provides a blank page for stories to flow, which leads to capturing more memories that a family member may have not considered.

As we age, our memories not only seem more valuable, but more vivid. For many wistful seniors, the events of 60 years ago may be clearer than the day before. I encourage you to record these stories while loved ones are able and healthy enough to tell them.

Their stories are incredible!

Contributed by:
Dan Gelfond
Personal History Interviews

Helping Seniors Fight Crime and Stay Safe

Helping Seniors Fight Crime and Stay Safe

Older people are often targets for robbery, purse-snatching, car theft, or a number of scams. During a crime, an older person is more likely to be seriously hurt. But, even though there are risks, don’t let the fear of crime stop you from enjoying life. Be careful and be aware of your surroundings. Here are some “do’s and don’ts” that can help you fight crime and stay safe.

Being Safe at Home

  • Do make sure that your locks, doors, and windows are strong and cannot be broken easily. Make sure they are locked—both when you are in the house and when you’re away.
  • Do make a list of your expensive belongings. You might even take pictures of the most valuable items. Store these papers in a safe place.
  • Don’t open your door before you know who’s there. Look through the peephole or a window first.
  • Don’t keep large amounts of money in the house.
  • Do get to know neighbors. Consider a Neighborhood Watch Program.

Being Street Smart

  • Do try to stay alert. Walk with a friend. Stay away from unsafe places like dark parking lots or alleys.
  • Do keep your car doors locked at all times and park in well-lit areas.
  • Don’t open your car door or roll down your window for strangers.
  • Do carry your purse close to your body and across your chest.
  • Don’t resist a robber. Hand over your cash right away if confronted.

Being Safe with Your Money

  • Do have your monthly pension or Social Security direct-deposited.
  • Don’t carry a lot of cash. Put your wallet and cash in an inside pocket.
  • Don’t keep your check book and credit cards together. A thief could use the card to forge your signature.

Fighting Fraud

Older people may be victims of frauds like con-games in areas such as home repair, insurance, telephone, or internet scams. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to hang up on telemarketers. You can decline an offer.
  • Don’t give any personal information over the phone unless you were the one who made the call.
  • Don’t be fooled by deals that seem too good to be true. They probably are. Beware of deals that ask for a lot of money up front and promise you more money later. Check with your local Better Business Bureau to get more information before doing business with them.

Avoiding Identity Theft

How can someone steal an identity? Use your name, Social Security, or credit card without your okay is called identity theft, and it’s a serious crime. Tips to protect yourself:

  • Do keep information about your checking account private. Put all new and cancelled checks in a safe place, report any stolen checks right away, and carefully look at your monthly bank account statement.
  • Do shred everything that has personal information written on it.
  • Do be very careful when buying things online. Websites without security may not protect your credit card or bank account information. Look for information saying that a website has a secure server before buying anything online. (It will have https://, not http:// in front of it).
  • Do check with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to learn to protect yourself from common online scams that can trick you into revealing your personal or financial information.

By National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Health


Smile, There’s an Inexpensive Way to Combat Memory Issues

Smile, There’s an Inexpensive Way to Combat Memory Issues

Fading memories will affect most of us at some point in our lives. Whether our memory is altered by age or information overload, the “fading memory” population helps keep the sticky note industry booming. Our population relies heavily on sticky notes. We place them on the kitchen counter, the bathroom mirror or on the front door to remind us to take medication, call to make an appointment, or grab our keys with us before we leave the house.

According to the University of Cincinnati’s study on dementia, about 5 to 15 percent of people 65 and older suffer from some form of dementia – the most common of which is Alzheimer’s disease. As people age, the risk of dementia increases. Moderate to severe dementia is found in 3% of those aged 65 to 74 and in 30% of those 85 and older.

Sticky notes are good reminders for things throughout the day, but in order to remain at home for as long as possible, it is important to create a system that works for your specific needs.

And yet, along with all these daily reminders, shouldn’t we also remind ourselves to smile? Studies continue to show that attitude and positivity help increase our ability to stay healthy and enjoy life.

According to The Mayo Clinic, researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

As a family member or caregiver of an aging parent, encouragement and compliments can help brighten someone day and improve their quality of life.

It’s so simple, yet so powerful. So, stock up:

6 pack of sticky notes = $6

1 black sharpie = $1.50

For a whopping $7.50, try it out and make someone’s day  🙂


Get Lost to Promote Brain Health

Get Lost to Promote Brain Health

Time and time again, studies have shown us that exercising the brain helps cognitive retention and is necessary for keeping us sharp as we age.

“Use it or lose it,” Jimmy Conners tells us.

 So. . .Get Lost!

Getting lost is just one of the ways we can fuel our brain. Find yourself in unchartered territory. . .walk a different route. . .explore a new trail. Forcing yourself to navigate your way will create brain stimulation. Visit a neighborhood you have never piloted through before, or steer your way through a venue for the first time. Building confidence and giving your brain a workout proves again that our brains are amazingly resilient and adaptive.

So, continue to get out of your comfort zone. Pulling yourself out of cruise control invites the brain to learn new things, enjoy new experiences and continue to grow.

In short, Get Lost and Enjoy it!

Strength Training For Boomers and Seniors

Strength Training For Boomers and Seniors

Did you know that you don’t have to lose your strength or muscle tone just because you’re getting older? As long as you continue working your muscles, they’ll continue working for you, by keeping you fit and independent. And if you use your muscles regularly, they’ll stay strong and firm, regardless of age. That’s why it’s especially important for older adults to strength train. Studies have shown that men in their 60s and 70s who strength train regularly have muscles that look and perform as well as inactive men in their 20s and 30s. After age 20, most adults lose about one half pound of muscle a year. By the time you’re 65, you have lost 25 percent of your peak strength. Experts say most of this muscle loss comes from simply not using your muscles enough as you age.

Carrying groceries, hauling mulch, opening jars — it’s easy to take routine tasks for granted when you can do them easily. Keeping your muscles and bones strong improves your chances of continuing these tasks on your own and reduces your risk of injury. Staying independent is a great incentive to maintain strength as you age.

You can start building and regaining strength at any age. So if it has been a while since you’ve worked on your strength, don’t worry. Research shows that even people who begin strength training in their 90s can gain muscle and strength in as few as eight weeks.

Thank You!  5 Things to Know About Hallmark Homecare

Thank You! 5 Things to Know About Hallmark Homecare

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Here are a few things you may be pleased to know about Hallmark Homecare:

1.)    You are working with senior care veterans. Our Internal Staff have over 75 years of combined homecare experience.

2.)    Hallmark Homecare’s one-time placement fee is equal to one month’s caregiver wages; your significant monthly savings enable you to fully recoup this fee within 1-3 months, depending on your level of need.

3.)    Your chosen caregiver is fully insured and professionally screened using the “best practices” of the senior care field, and you’ll be enjoying more control, consistency and longevity of care.

4.)    Our Care Coordinators work closely with you for your first 90 days with your caregiver, and beyond that you have unlimited access to our Care Coordinator Hotline for any additional help you might need.

5.)     If within the first 90 days of service, your caregiver decides to quit or you decide to replace her for whatever reason, we will replace your caregiver for no additional fee.