One of the biggest regrets people have after their mom or dad dies is not taking the time to capture their life stories while they were here.
Now that you know, you can avoid experiencing this regret, too! Yes, life is busy. Yes, you could get to it later. That said, it has never been easier to record someone's life story. The technology we have at our fingertips does most of the work for you. Additionally, due to COVID-19, older adults across the globe have learned how to FaceTime and Zoom. Therefore, you can't really make the case that distance is the issue. Our advice is to just make it happen! You will never regret it.
Here are 5 easy, low-maintenance ways to record and save your mom or dad's personal history to be cherished for generations. Before you start on any of these, consider having a prepared list of life story interview questions accessible!
Use a voice memo app on your phone
This is such an no-hassle way of capturing a life story! Brew a couple cups of coffee and get comfy at the kitchen table. You can set your phone to record a voice memo and start chatting away. One thing that is particularly nice about recording audio stories this way is that it’s very comfortable for the person being interviewed. Your mom or dad is likely to feel like they’re just having a natural, casual conversation without any video equipment or formal setting thrust upon them.
Put together a biography book
When it comes to creating life story books, there are a lot of great options and services out there to help you along. For the written content, you could ask your parent to write their own memoir or have a life story interview with you. Alternatively, you could pull from conversations you’ve had with your mom or dad and other family members. You could also gather supplemental media like photos, newspaper clippings, important documents, and ticket stubs to scan or upload into a storybook. A Google search will show you that there are many different book format options available; from DIY-ventures to bespoke, professional services. These coffee table books can make great gifts and treasured family heirlooms.
Gift them a subscription to Storii
Storii is a digital life story platform. With a monthly subscription, your loved one can create a multi-media life story that can easily be shared, downloaded, or collaborated upon. Storii has hundreds of question prompts to choose from but also lets you create your own. Questions can be answered with text, video, and photos. This subscription makes a great gift and is an excellent way for your loved one to record their life history at their own pace.
Record a zoom call
If you live long-distance from your mom or dad, why not record a zoom video call? This way you can capture their voice, laugh, personality and facial expressions to relive again and again. All you need to do is make sure to hit the record button and download the video files from zoom when you're finished.
In some cases, a parent may not be able to speak because of a health condition. In other cases, a parent might prefer to do things the old school way. If one of these is true, consider writing letters back and forth. This takes much longer than having an in-person conversation but there is something exceptionally sentimental about it. Additionally, you'll end up with something tangible to save and look back on after they’re gone.