The Tender Loving Eldercare Blog

Recording Your Family Stories

A girlfriend recently remarked, “I was trying to tell my sons a story about my parents, and found I just couldn’t remember the exact details. I wasn’t sure if I was telling the story right.” I knew exactly what she meant because I’ve also had that feeling of “Am I relaying this family story accurately?”

Let’s admit it. Many of us are baby boomers and our memories aren’t quite as sharp as they used to be. Now that our parents are likely gone from this earth, we can’t ask them to please repeat those interesting or funny stories again.



Record Your Care Recipients’ Stories


As family caregivers we spend lots of time with our care recipients, who are likely a parent(s) or older relative(s). They are full of family lore that will disappear with them when they leave this earth. Thanks to technology, it’s easy to record these precious stories now.

I prefer audio recordings because they can be done subtly. The speaker may not even notice you’re recording them which will prevent them from feeling self-conscious and/or censoring the tales.

Have your cell phone nearby and use the Voice Memos app on your iPhone or Sound Recorder app on your Android phone. Press New Recording (iPhone) or the Microphone (Android). It will start recording and continue until you stop it. Name the new recording and be sure to press the SAVE button.

You can then share the recordings with others directly from you phone or move them to a file folder to be saved on your computer or in the cloud as backup.

Now their stories are available to listen to forever or can be transcribed into a memoir or included in a family scrapbook.

Video is great to use, too, as long as your care recipient doesn’t mind, won’t feel self-conscious nor censor the stories because they know they’re being recorded. All cell phones today have a video option in the camera app.

Family Conversation Starters


You may want to write a list of questions in advance and ask them slowly over time. I suggest starting with an easier question to see how it goes before asking something deep or emotional. For example, a good starter question might be, “What was your favorite subject in school?”

And if your care recipients are reticent about opening up, try playing Parents are Human with them. It’s a card game designed to spark deeper conversations. It comes in 15 different languages with plans to add more. The questions cover these areas — Life Events, Wisdom, Identity, Relationships, and Actions — and can be played in person or remotely.

These are some questions the game poses:

  • What did you most enjoy doing as a child?
  • What was your favorite food growing up?
  • What is the most impactful book you ever read?
  • Share or describe your favorite picture of each other.
  • What are the most important lessons you want to pass on to the next generation?

I urge you to start recording these precious family stories and words of wisdom today. Being able to hear their voices in the future, by you and future generations, will be priceless.

Please click here to read my post with best practices for taking photos of our care recipients, another way to record them.

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Linda Abbit, Author of the Conscious Caregiver

About Linda Abbit

Linda Abbit is a caregiving expert, author, and a frequent in-person and virtual keynote speaker and workshop presenter. As a family caregiver with more than twenty-five years of hands-on experience, Linda has faced many caregiving challenges and a wide variety of situations while caring for her parents and other family members.

Read more about Linda's experience and how she helps caregivers. Need help at your fingertips? Get Linda's book, The Conscious Caregiver: A Mindful Approach to Caring for Your Loved One Without Losing Yourself.