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Residents explore and record
their personal histories

April 10th, 2019

Some Points West Living Stettler residents are digging deep to recall moments, places and people they may not have thought about for years. They’re doing so within the structure of Project Legacy, an initiative of Recreation Therapist Lisa Smith, who has a wealth of her own family memories at hand.

Personal history

As she considered activities that Independent Supportive Living (ISL) residents might find meaningful and enjoyable, Lisa says she felt strongly that it should be something related to personal history. “My family has generations of family stories and histories to read back on,” she says, “and I have found that reading them has brought joy and pride-of-family into my life. Why not help these residents leave a legacy to their families that will keep their memory alive?”

Questions jog the memory

And so in March, she began PWL Stettler’s own Project Legacy. Every Thursday afternoon, Lisa meets with a group of about six residents. Using her own grandmother’s written history as a guide for life-story inquiries, Lisa presents participants with questions. “The questions are intended to jog the memory and create an opportunity to record stories they may not otherwise talk about,” says Lisa, “For example: ‘Who gave you your name and why?’, ‘Where did your father go to work every day and what did he do?’ and ‘Describe your grandparent’s houses’.”

Participants LOVE it

“I was really nervous that these residents wouldn’t care about this project, but it turns out the ones who have participated LOVE it,” says Lisa. “Although we’ve only had a few meetings so far, residents have commented how fun it is to remember and record these stories they haven’t thought about in a long while. Many of the residents love it so much they take a couple of additional questions to work on during their own time.”

Photo: Residents (from left) Shirley and Ben Erickson, Betty Massey, Leona Erickson, Donna Chapman, and Marie Brenchley recollect and write their memories in response to Lisa’s questions for their own personal Project Legacies at PWL Stettler.

More photos at Flickr: Residents explore and record their personal histories

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