2% annual risk of developing Alzheimer’s by about 30%, to 2.6% per year, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
When you get together with your family during the holidays, try discussing your family health history. Even if you aren’t able to get to the root of every health crisis in your family, find out what you can. Whatever information you are able to find will be important because you can take it back to your doctors and make sure that you are a part of screenings and early prevention methods that will further decrease your risk and allow doctors to catch a disease in its early stages.
Why Our Stories Matter
Cultures that tend not to record their own stories often have to rely upon someone else’s interpretation of their cultures, beliefs, and values. As we have seen, historically, this can lead to misunderstandings, misinterpretations and a one-sided view of a culture and its people. To offset or further prevent this, we must curate our own stories.
Some people may opt to do this via writing books or others may simply decide to interview older family members and capture their responses on camera. Either way, the information that is gathered must be preserved for posterity’s sake. A perfect example of this is the WPA project.
Many of the first-hand accounts that we now have of former enslaved Africans’ lives are derived from the stories that they shared with others. Without these recordings, we would have to rely on, almost exclusively, second and third-hand accounts of their lived experiences.
How to Record a Loved One’s Story
Hiring a professional filmmaker or documentarian to capture your stories can be expensive. So too is hiring a professional writer or ghostwriter. The good news is that with today’s technology, you can historicize and document your family’s history yourself.
To record an interview, start by coming up with a list of questions. Although extemporaneous interviews are interesting, capturing someone’s oral history should be pre-planned.
Once you have your questions, schedule a time frame that is realistic—remember, older family members may need to talk in small chunks and they will probably want everything to happen in a convenient space, so factor in time, weather, and access before scheduling.
Once you have worked through the logistics, get acclimated with your preferred device. Your smartphone, tablet, and laptop should have a recording or dictating function that operates the same way that a tape recorder does. From there, you will just need to transcribe the interviews or hire someone to transcribe them for you.
Before you know it, you will have an archivable document that can be shared with generations to come!
Tyra Seldon, Ph.D. is a former English professor turned writer, editor and small business owner. Passionate about the English language and the craft of storytelling, she launched Seldon Writing Group, LLC in 2011. Dr. Seldon has worked with education tech companies, celebrities, aspiring writers, entrepreneurs, media outlets, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies to develop their written content. When she’s not writing, she’s traveling the world, one continent at a time. She can be reached at [email protected]