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A LEGACY of

by Bonita Bandaries

D

uring February the nation remembers its heritage with love. The national holiday of Presidents’ Day commemorates our first president, George Washington and the 16th president, Abraham Lincoln whose birthdays are on the 12th and 22nd. Throughout the month celebrations acknowledge the contributions of African Americans to this heritage. Preserving our memories unites us in love and gives us hope for the future. Along with many other countries on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, Americans celebrate a day to tell other special people in their lives they care. Traditionally sentiments are expressed with cards, songs, and flowers but there seems to be no end to ideas or gifts to say, “I love you,” to romantic partners, spouses, children, parents, or friends. There will be dinners and parties and all sorts of activities for people of all ages. Not to be forgotten are those in nursing homes, hospitals, and the military serving away from home. Youth groups and social organizations take this opportunity to create a special day for those who are not with loved ones at home. Sharing love knows no bounds. If you haven’t already done so, Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to begin a legacy of love, a way of knowing about your family roots. Too often the elderly relatives leave us without our knowing much about their lives. Do you know about their love story? How did your

parents meet? How long did they date? Where was the wedding? Who attended? Listening to an elderly person reminisce is a good way of their connecting but also creates a memory for you. Ask them about their lives and their important events. It wasn’t until I was caring for Mother in her last years did I ask her how she met my dad. Their courtship began in church which was surprising because I never knew my father as a church-goer. In the early 1940’s few people had cars in her rural community so she and the family walked several miles to church. Boys would stand outside peering into the open windows before going inside to sit beside the girls. As she reminisced, I gained new insight into her past and those times of listening were a wonderful respite from the routine tasks of caregiving. Recording the life and experiences of the elderly takes time so begin now developing the art of listening to their stories and filing them in your memory bank to record in some manner. The method does not have to be complex; a notebook is a good tool. This Valentine’s Day give a gift of time to an elderly friend or relative who may be craving someone to listen to them. This thoughtful present can be given any time. Memories are precious keepsakes! Shreveport resident Bonita Bandaries is the author of "A Promise Kept" and "Una Promesa Cumplida".

Bringing health care providers, consumers, payers and purchasers together to ImPROvE HEALTH,

ENHANcE qUALITy OF cARE and REdUcE cOSTS. Need more information? • Electronic health records • Statewide health information exchange • Patient-centered medical home WORKING TOGETHER FOR A HEALTHIER STATE

• Big data/analytics • Patient/consumer engagement • LaPOST/end-of-life care planning

Contact us at lhcqf.org or info@lhcqf.org.

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February 2015

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