Use Senior Citizen Photos to Connect with your Aging Parents and Help
Keep them out of the Hospital

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You’ve seen them: those senior citizen photos that stare back at you. They are inside the woven basket or divided box at antique shows and flea markets and yard sales everywhere in the country.

But before they landed there, those aging photos were somebody’s link to previous and later generations. And they are a terrific way to connect- just as the photos of your elderly parents are for you.


In fact, flipping through senior citizen photos can tell you a great deal about your parents:

  • how they used to wear their hair,

  • how they used to dress and

  • the way their face and skin used to look before age took its toll.

You can learn a lot about society from old portrait photos, too. For example, the way most photos from around the turn of the 20th century showed the wife seated in front of her husband, who was usually standing.

The reason was because, back then, women were thought of as being too weak to stand for the entire photo session. Imagine that!

Photos from your Mom and Dad’s high school years can be especially fun. You’ll get a kick out of the fashions they wore back then. You’ll even notice a few that have come back in style off and on over the years.

Those 40’s-era dresses your 80- or 90-year-old mom wore back when she was in her teens or 20’s might look vaguely familiar to you. That’s because they became popular again fifty years later.

For that matter, you might be shocked at some of the styles they used to wear in the younger years of your parents. An acquaintance of mine was visiting his great aunt in a nursing home when he was truly startled by a photo that was taken of her in her 20’s, back in the early 1940’s.

There she was, with her back turned to the camera, her lovely face smiling as she looked over her shoulder. She was dressed in a tight, revealing halter top and shorts, looking every bit as much like a World War II pin-up girl as Betty Grable ever did!


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Take your trip down memory lane with the photos as your guide. It can be just as good for keeping your parents’ minds active as it is interesting for you. Recalling old friends, happy family times and life stories together can show you a glimpse of their family life

  • long before their parents became your grandparents, and

  • before the “Aunt” was added to the old lady you know as Aunt Rose.

With you at their side, they can show you a picture of themselves with the dog they so loved who was the story of umpteen family stories.

You’ll ask them who the guy is who is dressed like Al Capone and they’ll proudly exclaim, “Why, that’s your Uncle Walter! I remember just when that picture was taken…” and gladly lead the way through the memories each photo holds.

Reliving your parents’ past through their old senior citizen photos can easily become a fun activity for both of you, as well. All it takes is a few decorative sheets of paper, a scrapbook or photo album, and some stickers to add as captions (all available at craft stores) to turn their precious memories into a treasured record of their lives for you and for future generations.

For, indeed, beyond the bond their photos will be forging from their yesterdays, there’s another plus: and that is, the memories you’ll be building from today for your own tomorrow.


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