"If You Find Yourself in a Hole, Stop Digging"
The quote is from Will Rogers, a simple talking
philosopher, who just asked us to look honestly at
ourselves, look around and appreciate what we see.
In preparing for a community course on
interacting with a dependent loved one to keep them
stimulated and positive, I was struck by the many
technical supports available and the real lack of
hands on, relationship builders for caregivers and
the person they love.
One of the last stages
that most of us may be lucky to go through is Life
Review. It’s not just those few seconds as we look
up at the light from above to skip through the high
and low points of our lives as we listen to harps
plinking “Just A Closer Walk With Thee.” To
look at our lives—the should haves, would haves,
could haves or still have to do—gives a person
purpose, a sense of self worth and a calmness.
Without ordering our life, our hopes, our regrets,
many people forget what they’ve done in their life
and who they are and turn to emptiness and despair.
As we get older, we often have extra time to
philosophize about our life, unless we have to deal
with a major change like an acute medical crisis or
a chronic medical problem—our own or a loved one’s.
Then all we think of is our condition or the
condition of our loved one and we miss out on really
appreciating where our lives have led us.
what can we do to accomplish a Life Review?
Ask questions. Every day and record the
answers. Have a binder where you can add pages
as you go along.
Start with the basics like:
Your name. Were you named for someone in your
family? What town were you born in? What
hospital? Was there a midwife? Your
parents, what were their names? Where were
they born? How did your parents meet?
How many brothers do you have? Sisters? Who
were you closest to and why? What things
scared you when you were a child? What was
your favorite meal? Who was your favorite
movie star? If you were going on vacation tomorrow,
where would you go? What subject in school did you
love, or hate? How old were you when you
learned to drive? How did you feel the day you
graduated from high school, married?
can make this a wonderful project to remind Dad or
Grandma about things they had forgotten and didn’t
think anyone really cared about—their life.
JoAnn Kunkle is a Volunteer Coordinator for
the United Methodist Homes Elizabeth Church Campus
in Binghamton, New York. She holds BS in Sociology,
and graduated from SUNY at Brockport. She is a
mother of two, grandmother of nine and wife to one
very wonderful man. She has been a Social Worker at
a Children’s’ Home, an Information Specialist in a
library and a Director of Social Services. You can
reach JoAnn at
Subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter