Mimi's Memos

Family support is important for the elderly, and several studies have provided evidence of an association between family support and cognitive function. A strong family connection, particularly daily communication with a family member, is correlated with higher cognition scores in both community and nursing home settings. Because continuous family activities provide the challenge of effective communication and participation in complex interpersonal exchanges, family support has been thought to inhibit cognitive decline in the elderly.

A study performed by Bassuk and colleagues (1999) found that elderly persons who had no to little family and other social ties were at an increased risk for cognitive decline, compared with those who had five or six social or family ties. Using frequency of contact with friends and family as an indicator for social support, Boult and colleagues, in another study, found that social support was associated with a reduced risk of developing disabilities up to 4 years later. Research has also shown that family involvement was a factor in slowing age-related decline in physical health and disability. Fratiglioni and colleagues (2000) found that an active family and friend network reduced the incidence of dementia in the elderly.

Well, a study done by Hull and family (1996) showed that our Mimi maintained a sharp cognitive function, strong wit and endless sense of humor until the day she closed her eyes to pass on. Mimi not only ruled as "queen" of our family, but she helped us all stay closer together through her desire to know about everyone in the family on a daily basis. She used her cell phone untiringly!!

I miss her calls warning me any time a thunderstorm was heading my way. The grandkids miss her helping them study for school exams, and my sister misses the joy she got from sending her cards and flowers on every special occasion.

Several years ago, Beth, my sister and our Healthy Recipe writer, wanted to find a really unusual gift for Mimi; we were always searching for creative gifts to give Mimi, the "woman with everything." Beth came up with Mimi's Memos, and she topped all our gifts that year with one of the most creative gifts I have seen.

Beth collected old photos from the 1950s to the present, and added her own funny bubble captions on each one. She then turned them into notes for Mimi, and every time mom wrote a shopping list or a reminder note, she would gaze at the picture, chuckle at the comments, and spend a moment or two remembering that moment in time. Not only were these Mimi's Memos useful to her, but they also brought life to the past, tying memories neatly together with the present.

Since Mimi passed away last year, the family has been pestering Beth to keep making Mimi's Memos. We ALL loved them, and the stack of note pads that were Mimi's are now depleting. Once they run out, we don't want Mimi's living memories to deplete, too.

So, here are Mimi's Memos! Beth finally turned them into something everyone can enjoy. The pictures on Mimi's Original Memos are of me and Beth, our kids, and, oh yeah, daddy is in there somewhere, too! Enjoy a trip down the Hull memory lane, and maybe you can let Beth help you create a way to enjoy your own memories for many years to come.

A life-long blessing for children is to fill them with warm memories of times together. Happy memories become treasures in the heart to pull out on the tough days of adulthood. - Charlotte Davis Kasl

Posted April 2009 | Permanent Link

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