Seniors Need Moments of Joy

One of the most common questions Life Your Way readers ask when we talk about decluttering and organizing is how to organize photos. So, over the next three weeks, we’ll be talking about all things photo-related with a special series from the Association of Personal Photo Organizers!

The following is written by Cathi Nelson:

source: Mikko Luntiala

Seniors Need Moments of Joy

It was a Greek philosopher in 435 B.C. who said that “change is the only constant in life”.  The older I get the more I understand how true that statement is and nothing confirms that more than watching my parent’s age.

My father who once thought nothing of jumping in the car and driving across states on a whim is now afraid to drive after dark.  My mother who had endless energy now says no to family outings that occur after 7pm.  They are in their late 70’s and the beginning of huge demographic shift that is happening in our country. In fact, senior adults are projected to make up 14.5% of the population by 2015.

What does this mean for us as the children who will love and care for them? I worry about that day and recognize I am part of the sandwich generation.

I have one child in middle school and one in high school. I am worrying more about college expenses than how I will help my parents move. In addition I am busy helping with homework, trying to cook healthy family meals, growing my own business and being a loving wife.  I am tired without a lot left over.

I recently heard someone speak on the anxiety that occurs for seniors as they begin the process of downsizing, they fear being a burden and the loss of respect they had as active adults.  What they need are “moments of joy” and one way they experience this is through important family memories such as photos and memorabilia.

If your parents are anything like mine that means they have boxes of photos, not only of your childhood but from their parents as well.  In addition many families took slides and those are now as old fashioned as it gets in this digital age.

If they did put photos in an album they were likely the magnetic albums that yellowed the photos and are falling apart. Who ever heard of acid-free and archival albums in the sixties and seventies?  The results of this are a lifetime of memories and the opportunity for those “moments of joy” to be rescued before it’s too late.

I Gave Her a “Moment of Joy”

The importance of this was highlighted for me this past Christmas. I had found boxes of slides that hadn’t been seen for decades in my mother’s basement.  Unbeknown to my mother, I scanned the photos and created a “Generation to Generation” album and gave it to her for Christmas.

Her response as exactly what the experts say seniors need, A Moment of Joy, which you can see in the photo. She hugged and cried and stroked the album that included photos of her parents and my childhood.

I don’t know what the future holds other than change, but I do know I can continue to create Moments of Joy for my parents by surrounding them with the memories of a life well lived and loved.

How do you preserve your memories?

Click here for all of the posts in this series.

Cathi has been helping clients organize their photos for over 17 years, she is the founder of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers and the owner of her own business, PhotoSimplified. She is also a wife, mother of 2 busy teens and a lover of stories and photos.