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Celebrating, Preserving Family History

Capturing precious memories, family recipes and legends can be easy and fun ways to recognize National Grandparents Day on Sept. 9.

Grandparents frequently are the keepers of precious family memories, recipes and legends. Since National Grandparents Day is Sunday, why not celebrate by visiting a grandparent and capturing some life history and wisdom for future generations?

Counselor Paul Zohav, of Bellevue, WA, served as the former chaplain in the Philadelphia Geriatric Center and the community chaplain for Jewish Family Services of Greater Harrisburg. Through his experience, Zohav learned grandparents are the bridge between the generations that came before them and those to follow.

“They often have answers from wisdom acquired from a lifetime of learning that can help someone not yet born,” says Zohav. 

But capturing this information to preserve it for future generations is often a challenge. Some families try to preserve family history by interviewing a grandparent on camera. Others give blank journals or “memory books” to grandparents.

Inspired by years serving elderly patients and watching families struggle to capture memories and remain deeply connected through several generations, Zohav created The Life Book. The book is a binder system of pages designed to prompt and capture memories and wisdom that grandparents can work on by themselves or with their children and grandchildren. The book also holds photos, important documents and even helps grandparents with the daunting task of downsizing to a smaller home or an assisted living facility.

Zohav says that too often grandparents also have challenges connecting with the younger generation. The book offers intergenerational conversation starters, such as, “What do you wish you knew then that you know now?”

The task of sharing a life story can be overwhelming, but with some support from family and friends, a grandparent's legacy can be passed down to generations to come.

“You don’t have to do it all at once, just get started before it is too late,” said Zohav. 

TELL US: Have you documented your family history? What about recipes? Leave a comment to let us know how you preserve special memories of grandparents.

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