You really can go home again. In fact, according to a recent article, 5 Ways to Capture Memories: Seniors with Alzheimer’s article, going home is good for the memory. Of course, the saying “You can’t go home again” has more to do with wanting things to be exactly as they were in the past. That is a different issue. This article touched on a variety of ways to help the memories of the present by experiencing places, faces and the smells of the past.
We were able to experience some of the joy of reminiscences on a recent trip we took to visit the area where my husband spent a great deal of his childhood. One of his dear cousins passed away, and we traveled up to the state of Washington for the memorial. While there, we did some driving around to see some his childhood houses and haunts.
One place, in particular, was a wonderful meat store called “Farmer George Meats” in Port Orchard – by the way, if you ever find yourself in the region, make sure you stop by Farmer George Meats and pick up some of the finest jerky or beef sticks on the planet. Not only was the visual of seeing the shop wonderful, but the smell of the ‘smokes and spices‘ used to prepare the meat triggered a cacophony of wonderful memories.
When we were first married, Wayne was stationed at Fort Lewis near Tacoma, so while we were there, we also checked out the places we lived at that time. Though we noticed the differences, we appreciated the parts that were the same.
The memorial itself, with all the various family and friends, evoked powerful associations and memories. There is something inherently satisfying about making those types of connections.
To make a delightful trip (though for a sad reason) more enjoyable, we were able to stop in Portland for a short visit with one of my cousins. The visit was lovely as we were able to catch up on family news. As an unexpected bonus, the sound of my cousin’s voice (with her charming Wisconsin accent) produced powerful reminders of the sounds of speech I heard as a child back in the Great Lakes area.
Our oldest son is getting to enjoy, to a degree some of the joys of returning to visit his hometown, as he has been able to come out to California for a rare vacation. He has been able to see the familiar faces and places from his childhood.
As Glenn E. Smith, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist at the Mayo Clinic, in an article on the clinic’s website says, “By gathering memories, you can bring important events and experiences from your loved one’s past into the present. You’re the link to his or her life history.”
So, whether physically, or virtually, try to take a trip or two down memory lane to enjoy a journey of a lifetime.
Has your world been touched by dementia? Or, are you a caregiver? My recent book, “Finishing Well: Finding Joy in the Journey”, is a collection of stories and tips about doing life with my Mama. May it encourage and inspire you to find the joy in your own, unique journey. Find our group on Facebook