Ageism is the stereotyping and/or discrimination against individuals or groups because of their age. The term was coined in 1969 by Robert Neil Butler to describe discrimination against seniors and patterned on sexism and racism.

I never realized how much this was a problem until I hit the older age of 50 years. Recently divorced, decided that it was time to focus on myself and go back to work. My daughter was grown, and I had no distractions to keep me from performing my best. I had always been offered the jobs that I went after so I thought, “I’m a great candidate! Anyone would be a fool to not hire me! I won’t be pulled away by child emergencies, my spouse won’t let me down and I’ll have to leave for issues in the middle of the day, yada yada yada.”

Little did I know how hard it is to find a job, especially now, when everyone is saying how hard it is to find workers right now. I am hard working, already employed, and determined. What’s the problem? The only thing I can accredit to the problem is the fact that I am older. When I look at the company pictures that I am applying to, all the employees are in their 20s.

Imagine what senior citizens feel like when they apply for jobs these days. Seniors can be bored or in need of extra income and decide that retirement is not for them at this time. But how can seniors compete? They often don’t have the computer skills or understand the environment they are being asked to work in. It can be hard to keep seniors in the workforce when they struggle to fit in or have a hard time getting hired to begin with. But did you know that by the year 2024, 25% of the workforce will be 55 years or older? And according to a recent study, 36% of people aged 55 and older feel that their age is the reason they were turned down for a job.

Even more so, people aged 45 are hired less than their 20-something counterparts and are often not promoted or included in team building exercises. This can lead to frustration and embarrassment which causes less than stellar work. Next thing you know, the employee is fired. Yes… FIRED!

You might be thinking, so what? They’ll just hire a 20-something to do the job. Do you realize that people over the age of 50 have a lot of knowledge about the industry and company they work with? The 20-something employees need the seniors in the business to help them understand where this company came from. How it got to where it is now. Their shoes can be very hard to fill!

What can be done? I’m a big believer in having someone mediating these issues. Teach the 20- somethings why they need seniors in the workspace. Make them understand their continued value. Continuing education for seniors is imperative. Teach them how to use tech and help them understand why the 20 somethings always have their face in their phone. Seniors often think they are just snap chatting, but they can usually get a lot of their work done on their phones!

Helping both groups understand each other’s difficulties and opening the lines of communication will create stronger work bonds that will only benefit the company and provide a better workforce.

I had the pleasure to sit down with Deb Meyer and discuss what OdorXit is and what benefits it has over some other odor removers on the market. PLUS you support a small business when you purchase it! If you have pets (of any kind), and seniors (of any age), you need to keep OdorXit on hand! People and animals can be messy and using this product will definitely keep your home, office, car, etc smelling good!

Eliminates Common Odors:

For These Surfaces:

Ingredients:

OdorXit Odor Eliminator is a blend of non-staining, non-toxic, biodegradable water and essential oils that neutralize the source of most organic and many inorganic odors.

Safety:

OdorXit Eliminator is all natural and safe to use on and around pets and children. OdorXit is harmless and can safely be sprayed onto skin and pet fur.

Instructions for Using OdorXit Eliminator

  1. Vacuum, sweep, or wash (carpet, hardwood, dog) the odorous area first before applying OdorXit. Mix 4 ounces of Concentrate to one gallon of tap water in a clean sprayer or spray bottle.
  2. Spray or saturate the total source of the odor.
  3. Let dry.
  4. If the odor is better but not completely gone, reapply the solution to a larger area. There is still a spot that OdorXit hasn’t neutralized so spray or saturate a larger area!

Brett Oakley gives us the 411 here on his podcast:

Are You Done with the Breakdown?

Your cells are breaking down. Healthy lifestyle or not, no one escapes the consequences of age. Although you may feel well, the effects of cellular breakdown are sneaking up on you. Current research shows that environmental factors such as stress, diet, the air we breathe, and aging can actually turn OFF genes, meaning the genetic instructions that dictate healthy body functions don’t get through.

What if there were a simple way to address this cellular breakdown? Not just mask the symptoms, but actually attack problems at the source—the genetic level?

ASEA REDOX and  RENU28® redox gel are the first and only products on the market to contain active redox signaling molecules – cellular messengers that affect gene expression in a positive way, helping to:

ASEA REDOX and RENU28® users enjoy cell signaling benefits, which translate to health at its most foundational level.

ASEA REDOX and RENU28® are scientifically tested and shown to signal the activation of genetic pathways and affect genes that:

ASEA REDOX contains the same Redox Signaling Molecules that are produced within every cell in your body and act as either cellular messengers or cellular activators. These activator molecules carry the messages that tell your cells to activate antioxidants (Glutathione, Superoxide Dismutase, and Catalase) stored in your body. Antioxidants are chemicals (both naturally occurring and man-made) that keep oxidative free radicals in check and prevent them from causing other cellular damage. However, antioxidants don’t work unless activated by redox signaling molecules.

Messenger molecules are responsible for enabling proper cell communication within your body to ensure optimal performance of the immune system. They also activate your body’s immune system to protect against bacteria, viruses, and infection. Activate the Inner Doctor in your body with ASEA!!!

What Keeps Your Cells Healthy?

Visit Brett’s page on The HIP Senior Directory

In this 12-part series, we’ll be highlighting the life of a beloved family member: Uncle Al. He was a WW2 Vet, a Ford Motors man, and an amazing storyteller. This is a story about stories, and how your stories can shape your family’s legacy.

I learned more about World War 2 in one afternoon spent with Uncle Al than I ever cared to retain when I was in school. Was it because Uncle Al was a better teacher than any of my professional, teach-this-subject-every-year high school history teachers? I’m betting not (they were all amazing teachers!). No, I learned and absorbed this information from Uncle Al with a childlike delight because it happened to him. He lived through it. I was listening to someone who was really there.

I mentioned in an earlier article that I’m actually not a history buff and could easily get bored at a history museum. It would be an entirely different story if you put me in a museum of my family’s personal artifacts and stories and pictures. Knowing where I came from, where my parents came from, and my grandparents came from is meaningful and fascinating to me. Some of my favorite memories I have with my family—of each generation I was lucky enough to know personally—were sitting together and sharing stories.

With this in mind, I want to talk about three benefits of recording your parents’ or grandparents’ stories that you might not immediately think about—or that you might unintentionally take for granted.

The first benefit is one I just mentioned: education. Our Elders experienced things differently than we did, in times when we either didn’t exist or didn’t know what was going on. To hear them talk about what life was like in a different time, whether they were in the middle of it or hearing of it in the news, is like getting a window into the past directly from the source. From Al, I learned that the entire auto industry converted during WW2; Chrysler made tanks! I couldn’t believe it! From Al’s wife, Bev, I learned a little about nursing before there was Penicillin, and how Penicillin was treated as a miracle drug no one really understood when it first came out. What innocuous tidbits of information do your parents and grandparents have that would blow your mind and give you new appreciation for the luxuries we have today and society as we know it?

The second benefit is one that probably comes to mind immediately, but I’m going to put a spin on it you might not have thought of. The benefit is connection. When we sit down together and share stories, we are connecting to one another in a very critical way. In these past years during the pandemic, everyone around the world has likely felt the importance of connection, and sadly, there were countless who suffered because they could not receive it. When we include our Elders in these conversations, it is a point of integral connection that extends to everyone involved. But what we may not consider is how this connection extends outward, endlessly. In my family, all the children born from this point forward will one day have access to Uncle Al’s stories. They’ll be able to grow up “knowing” him in a way that would not be possible without the record of his stories. Maybe it will inspire them to serve their country, or to take after Uncle Al in learning about machines or not taking life too seriously. Descendants a hundred years from now could know of Uncle Al and his heroism. I can’t think of a better way to honor him.

The last one really strikes a chord, especially in light of the isolation many of our Elders experience at assisted living facilities, retirement homes, in hospitals—in normal circumstances, but made infinitely worse by the pandemic. The third benefit is appreciation. At my company, I have talked to Elders who truly seemed to believe they had nothing worth sharing—that no one would ever want to or care to hear their stories. This was heartbreaking on so many levels. If you’re an Elder reading this, I want you to know that this just isn’t true. At bare minimum, there is one person (me!) who would be fascinated and enchanted by your stories, no matter how small they might seem to you. But I would go out on a limb and say you do have family and friends who would share my belief that you have so much stored in that amazing mind of yours—who would appreciate you and everything you’ve experienced in your lifetime. If you’re the son, daughter, or grandchild of an Elder reading this, please understand that having these conversations, recording their stories, ensuring their stories are saved and passed down can help our Elders feel seen, heard, valued, and appreciated. Tell them how much it would mean to you to have recordings of your favorite stories, or of their entire life’s story. They may have no idea it would mean anything to you until you tell them.

Education, connection, and appreciation are three deeply impactful reasons to have a conversation with your Elders about recording their stories. Some Elders still may not want to share their stories, and you’ll have to accept and respect their wishes on that. But please don’t make the mistake of assuming they know how much it would mean to you. It could make the difference in creating your family’s legacy.

Stay tuned for Part 10, where we’ll dive deeper into an appreciation of our own journeys and explore what is worth sharing. Or, if you’d like to read this series from the beginning, click here for Part 1.

With Facebook changing its branding to “Meta” and announcing its plans for a virtual world, I started thinking back to ten years ago when I was involved with second life and the music industry.  Musicians come together through “Streams” to play together from all around the world. They plan and rehearse what they are going to play (usually) and some even get together in person (real-life or RL), in what they call “Jams”.  I went to a small version of a jam many years ago that consisted of three or four musicians. It was fun. They also have regional jams around the world with lots of musicians and fans attending.

In world, musicians are mostly playing for the love of playing and for people to experience their music. Most of them have jobs and play in-world simply for the love of music. One of the nice features of this, besides being able to listen from the comfort of your own home, is the fact that several musicians can log in to second life and play together. This gives you an even better music experience.

In Second Life, there are ways of earning “Lindens” (SL money) or you can purchase them. This online money gives you the ability to experience SL more fully, but it’s not necessary in order to have a great experience in SL. There’s no rule that you have to spend RL money in world. You can wander around, be homeless and just have the standard clothing that comes with your avatar. I would never recommend spending money that you need for housing, medications, food, etc.

Come visit SL. Ask me for a personal tour and see if it’s something you might enjoy. It’s a great way to spend some time and make some friends. You’ll have to have a decent computer, internet, and an open mind to new experiences. Email me at marianne@thehipsenior.com with questions or to schedule a tour.

In this 12-part series, we’ll be highlighting the life of a beloved family member: Uncle Al. He was a WW2 Vet, a Ford Motors man, and an amazing storyteller. This is a story about stories, and how your stories can shape your family’s legacy.

In the last article, we talked about how to prepare to interview and capture a loved one’s personal stories. Let’s pretend now that you’ve done that (and if you haven’t, what’s stopping you?). What do you do next? What do you do with these audio files or video files that contain precious stories of Grandma or Grandpa or your parents?

I can tell you what not to do. Don’t leave it indefinitely on your phone, on the SD card, or locked in the voice recorder.

Put those recordings on a computer and back them up to the cloud. This is step one of making sure they don’t get lost. If they are on a computer or your phone or a voice recorder, the stories would be lost if anything happened to those physical storage devices (ie: an act of god, theft, hard drive goes bad, misplacement, etc). But by storing them on a computer as well as on the cloud, you have two places they are stored and protected.

The next step is making sure, once your files have been safely stored on your computer and on the cloud, that you can find them again later. This means storing them in an obvious, aptly named place. I recommend creating a specific folder just for your memory files. Most computers have a standard place to store files, like a “Documents” folder, and you could create a sub-folder called “Oral Family History” or “My Memories” or “Grandma’s Stories.” Whatever name makes sense to you that clearly indicates what it contains will be fine.

An additional (and optional-but-recommended) step you could follow this up with is to do a bit of further organization by labeling files or even breaking them up into smaller files and labeling those. The interview we conducted with our Great Uncle Al was about 5 hours in total. Your interview could be more or less than that, but the longer the interview, the more critical this extra organization is. By breaking up the audio and video files into smaller segments and labeling what those files contain, you greatly increase the likelihood of someone rewatching them in the future.

Imagine this scenario: When we finished Uncle Al’s interview, we had eleven videos that were all 20-30 minutes long. In that raw format, the movies were labeled, “MVI_0000.mp4,” “MVI_0001.mp4” and so on, which tells me nothing about what the video contains. If I wanted to hear one particular WW2 story about when Al was woken up in the middle of the night and instructed to paint stripes on the wings of his planes, I would have to watch potentially five hours of video until I found it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t necessarily have five spare hours to find a single 30-second story that I wanted to share with a friend. So instead, the videos sit unwatched. The story doesn’t get found. It doesn’t get passed down. And eventually, it gets forgotten.

What if, instead, I could go right to my “Memories” folder, to “Uncle Al’s Stories,” and find a file called, “Painting Stripes on Planes.mp4”? I could find it and share it within a matter of minutes or even seconds, and not only do we both get to hear the story directly from Al’s mouth, but no details are lost, and Al lives on in his story and in our family for the hero he was. I personally like Scenario B a lot better. It just requires a little work up front to make it possible. In the long run, however, think of how much more likely your family will be to pass down those labeled stories from generation to generation, rather than a series of long, unlabled files.

This ties right into the last critical step. If you are the only one who has access to or knows about the files containing your family heritage, you run the risk of them being lost forever, even despite the efforts you went through to record them in the first place. If something happened to you, would people know to go look for them on your computer? If they did, could they find the files easily? Would they know them when they saw them? The biggest missed step here is not sharing these files with your whole family. Tell other people in your family that they exist, and give them access to that folder in the cloud (all cloud services should have this feature). By doing this, you ensure multiple people have the ability to keep these records safe, access them, share them, and pass them down.

So to summarize:

  1. Transfer your recordings to a computer and upload them to a cloud service of your choice so they are safe.
  2. Organize your files—at minimum, by labeled folder, and ideally by creatively naming files to show what they contain (and breaking them down into smaller specific files if you know how to).
  3. Share your files with family in the cloud so you aren’t the sole caretaker of these files.

It’s so important that you don’t skip these steps after you’ve taken the time and care to capture your family heritage. But if you follow these steps, you’ll go a long way toward protecting your family’s legacy. Our family took it a step further and turned Al’s stories into a DVD collection and digital transcript, but that’s a topic for another day.

Stay tuned for Part 9, where we’ll explore the unseen benefits of having your elders share their family heritage. Or, if you’d like to read this series from the beginning, click here for Part 1.

Peeling Back the Virtual Onion Layers of the Virtual World Called Second Life

What is a virtual reality world? Imagine logging into your computer and being in a world where the sky is the limit. Whatever you want to be in your “Second Life”, you can be. With just a few mouse clicks, you can be the person, animal, or anything you can imagine.

Second Life is an online multimedia platform that people log into and create an avatar so they can explore this online world. I’m sure by now you are asking what all you can do while “exploring”. Let me give you some examples:

Attend live events such as concerts, poetry readings, dancing at clubs with live DJ’s
Participate in activities such as surfing, skydiving, skiing, parasailing, ziplining, and much more!
Shop for things such as upgrades to your 3D avatar, clothing, houses, pets, artwork and home décor, cars, and more!
Create! You can build sims (pieces of land), buildings and homes, vehicles, create artwork. Use your imagination and create anything that comes to mind.
Start a business – Always wanted to be a realtor or property manager? Own land? Own a restaurant or club? Start a clothing line? In SL, you can start a business selling/reselling other people’s products for next to no money. You can set up a storefront in a matter of minutes.
Get a job – businesses hire real-life people to run/manage their business in world. Musicians hire agents to get them gigs, venues, clubs, and hire hostesses to greet guests, stores hire salespeople, and the list goes on and on.
Visit lands near and far – many lands in SL are created as fantasy but some are created based on actual cities. A lot of tourist spots are replicated so if you can’t travel, this gives you some sense of seeing places of your interest.
Make friends – I have friends in real life that I met in SL. These friends live all over the world and I’ve met several of them in person.
None of the above – You can just log in and walk (did I mention you can also fly?!) around and explore.

Second Life is free to use, however, it takes a lot of effort to find places that offer free skins (how your avatar looks) and free clothing. Most people just choose to purchase some Lindens (Second Life’s currency) and get their avatar up and running asap. Of course, I do not recommend you spend any money that you cannot afford to. Making your avatar look more realistic does not affect your actual activity in SL. Real-life bills (housing, food, utilizes, medication) are a billion times more important than anything in Second Life.

There are so many things to mention about Second Life. Check back next week when we talk about how money is spent and earned in world! Some people earn thousands of dollars each month there!

Reference: www.SecondLife.com – Want to sign up? Go to https://www.firestormviewer.org/choose-your-platform/ and download the SecondLife Viewer and use that to sign up. You get more options of free avatars when you sign up that way. Questions? Email support@onlinetechlessons.com for help.

Photo Credit: Iozi Wasp is enjoying a snowy adventure with his furry best friend. Credit goes to him and Second Life.

Caste noun:  \kast – A division of society based on differences of wealth, inherited rank or privilege, profession, occupation, or race. 

What about age?  Shouldn’t that be included?  Those of us over the age of 55 with brittle bones are often in casts. I know…it’s different. Or is it? My body is certainly different than it was in my 30’s and it’s taking all of my inherited wealth to keep up with medical bills from health professionals that I always seem to be racing off to.

I’ve reached the age where 90% of my conversations with doctors, friends, and sometimes complete strangers are about ailments – itches, glitches, twitches, diseases, and yes, casts. I happen to be wearing one right now due to a stress fracture and/or muscle strain in the top of my left foot.  Not exactly the boot I had envisioned myself wearing this winter.   The good news is due to the air cast, I’ve convinced my boss it was imperative I extend my stay in South Carolina so I would not have to navigate the ice and snow in grey, gloomy Cincinnati.  He took the bait hook, line, and sinker. I will continue to work remotely until the sun shines bright in my home state…which might not be until June. 

And that’s just one perk of having a bum foot!

My husband was waiting on me hand and, well, foot for several weeks.  I pushed him over the edge, however, when I called him on my iPhone from the couch while he was downstairs in the garage to see if he could bring me a Mt. Dew and some Cheetos.  He packed up the car and the cat and headed north the very next day.  He claimed it was because he was unable to work remotely and needed to get back to the job site.  I knew better.  Now I have to crawl to the mini-fridge to get a cold soda.  Fortunately, the family-size bag of snacks on the end table next to me is still half-full.   I know eventually, I’m going to have to place an order via the Harris Teeter Express Lane so I can pick up some groceries.   I’ve made a mental note to add a box of Depends to the list so I don’t even have to get off the couch to go to the bathroom. 

Brilliant!

I did venture out to the grocery the other week because we needed fruit.  I don’t like someone else picking out bananas for my morning smoothie.  Steve dropped me at the door and I only had to hop 17 steps to the complimentary, fully-charged motorized scooter.  I swear the sun was shining on it and the angels were singing.  It was a sweet ride. I revved up the engine and took off like a bat out of hell at 2.5 miles per hour.  I whizzed past the produce and had to back up to grab the 2 for 1 containers of strawberries.  I got a kick out of the beep, beep, beep like a garbage truck while in reverse. I backed up down three entire aisles until I knocked over a display of Bounty. 

I’ve discovered that customer service improves when you are incapacitated and several years younger than most on Senior Citizen discount day at the store.  Usually, the young whippersnapper at the register asks me if I’m over 60 (I’m on the cusp), but when you sail through the line in a scooter, he didn’t bother looking up (that might have been because I had rolled over his foot).  I think he gave me the discount to get me out of the store before I did any more damage.

Cha-Ching!

I saved enough money to buy something called the “EVENup Shoe Balancer” on Amazon.  Another friend of mine, Alex, who just got out of a boot, turned me onto this little gem.  She convinced me that if I purchased it, the lift would prevent my back and hip from going all out of whack while in the air cast for six weeks.  She was right.  While I waited three days (I don’t have Prime) for the EVENup to arrive, I could feel a couple more glitches coming on to tell my friends about.  Once I strapped the contraption to my gym shoe, I no longer had the gait of Quasimodo.  Now I walk like Frankenstein but I feel like Cinderella in this beautiful rubber slipper.  If only that company could come up with an EVENup bra, I’d be set!

The orthopedic doctor I found online is a really nice man named Dr. Tom Thomas (the nurse actually called him Tom-Tom. I guess he beats to a different drum). I liked him because he told me I could start easing out of the boot in the next week or so.  He recommended a good pair of sturdy shoes (good sturdy shoes equate to ugly and expensive).  I’m headed to “Nuns-R-Us” to see what they have in a size 6.5.  I pray Sister Plantar Fasciitis will be working so I can receive my free blessing with every purchase.

My latest ailment has opened up a whole new world of conversation with friends.  I can now keep up with Lynette who is recovering from Omicron, Tammy’s torn meniscus, and Mark, who had open-heart surgery just in time for Valentine’s Day. I can hardly wait to tell them I met my health-insurance deductible AND used up my entire FSA allotment and it’s not even March!

It’s that time of the year again – Tax Season! We all dread it. It’s definitely not a fun activity in our lives but, as the old saying goes, “There are only two guaranteed things in life: Taxes and Death”. I dread doing taxes with every fiber of my being.

What’s even worse though is the thought of being scammed! There are so many tax scams out there and Ryan Lippe is with us in this podcast below to tell us what the scams are and how we can avoid them. Click on the link below to listen to hear what Ryan has to say!

According to Marija Lazic over at Legaljobs, here is a list of stats about tax scams and identity theft:

Fascinating Scam Statistics and Facts (Editor’s Pick)

Have you been a victim of a scam or identity theft? Leave a comment below. Why? Because other people being aware that they are not the only ones that it happens to (especially near them) helps them to be brave and report it so the authorities can track the scammers easier. Thank you for being part of the solution 🙂

For more information about tax scams and other scams, visit https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Individuals-and-Families/Consumers/Scams.

To report a scam, visit https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/about-AG/contact/report-a-scam and fill out their form. Remember, they can’t catch the bad guys they don’t know about! Please report things!

In this 12-part series, we’ll be highlighting the life of a beloved family member: Uncle Al. He was a WW2 Vet, a Ford Motors man, and an amazing storyteller. This is a story about stories, and how your stories can shape your family’s legacy.

If one of your loved ones has agreed to share their stories with you to be recorded for your family history, you might be wondering what all you should be doing to prepare for that day. To be clear, there are many things (well beyond three) that you could do to prepare, but I want to keep it simple for you. Let’s start with just three things:

  1. Bring a list of questions and topics, but above that, be curious.

As a rule of thumb, it’s great to go into an interview prepared with a list of questions or topics you want to ask Grandma about her life. Bring a notebook or paper and take notes. Ask follow-up questions or clarifying questions when you don’t understand. When I interview people about their oral histories, I have them state, for posterity, basic things about themselves, like their full name and when and where they were born. Remember that you already may know that information, but these records aren’t just for you! They’re for future generations that have never met your Grandma and would not necessarily know that information. Think of stories she’s told you before that you want to be able to hear again and again. Consider what things might be the same between her lifetime and yours, and what might be vastly different. I won’t go into the full list of how to generate a list of great questions here, but if you’re curious, you can check out our site! The main point is to be curious and thoughtful.

This extends to researching, or lack thereof, beforehand. Taking some time to research key events your loved one has lived through, time periods, trends, technology, wars, etc. can make really great fodder for questions. I highly encourage you to do this. But, please don’t think that in order to record great family stories, that research is required. Many times, some of the best stories come out naturally in conversation—not from the prompting of a well-timed, well-researched question—but instead from someone going, “Hey Uncle Al, what was that story you told me once about painting stripes on the planes? What was that all about?” That person may have lacked the historical knowledge to know he was asking about preparing for D-Day. I’m telling you, that’s okay. Because Uncle Al was happy to educate us about why he painted stripes on the planes and what they were used for. And I personally learned and remembered it better because it came from him, in the form of a story, instead of a fact from a textbook. I just want you to keep an open mind and be curious. Do research if you want to. But also understand that unplanned, un-staged stories blossom all the time without a rehearsed historical prerequisite.  

2. Come with the right equipment

In the last article, we talked about choosing a recording method that fits the preferences of your Memory Giver. Uncle Al was perfectly fine on camera, but your grandma might prefer audio-only. Regardless, you should come prepared with the proper recording gear. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy! In fact, if you own a smartphone and a tripod with a phone mount, that’s everything you should need. Your camera app will work for video recording, and any number of voice-recording apps will work for audio-only recording. If you don’t own a smartphone, you could pick up an inexpensive voice recorder or a relatively inexpensive video recorder with a tripod mount.

In all cases, it’s important to make sure you have enough space on your phone, voice recorder, or video recorder. Depending on the intended length of your interview, you may need to clear off unused phone apps or transfer photos and videos to a computer to make space for a video file. Audio files are much smaller! To see how much space you might need, record a one-minute video with your phone, then check the file size in the photo’s details and multiply by the number of minutes you plan to record. That’s how much space you need to leave (and I would make room for extra space in case the interview runs longer than you expect). If you’re using a handheld voice recorder, it likely comes with a set amount of space, but anything above 4 GB of space should be more than enough for a single interview. If you’re using a video recorder, you’ll likely need to purchase an SD card (most are a standard 8, 16, or 32 GB) and will tell you how many minutes they will record in High Definition (HD) or 4K. One quick tip: unless you are planning to turn this interview into a cinematic documentary, you should be just fine with HD video, which will take up far less space than 4K.

Battery life is also a factor. Make sure you come prepared with a full battery, or at the very least a phone charger (and an extension cord to give you extra length). Video saps a lot more power on your phone than audio does. If you’re using a handheld voice recorder, the batteries are usually long-lasting; just fully charge it before you go to the interview. If you’re using a video recorder, you could periodically check the battery as the interview goes on or opt to leave it plugged in the whole interview to ensure it doesn’t run out of battery (an extension cord might not be a bad idea here either).

3. Be cognizant of your Memory Giver

The last primary step is to always be aware of your Memory Giver and how they’re doing during the interview. If you’re interviewing Grandma, let her know at the beginning of the interview that she can take a break any time—that she doesn’t have to answer any questions she doesn’t want to. During the interview, just be a caregiver as well a curious loved one. Does Grandma need a restroom break? Does she need a refill on her glass of water? Are the questions you’re asking stimulating her to respond, or does she not seem eager to talk about them? Sometimes certain topics can be difficult to talk about. This doesn’t mean they should never be talked about, but it does mean you should be aware of whether Grandma wants to talk about them or not, and respect her wishes. Check in periodically to see if Grandma needs a break, if she’d like to keep going and talk about the next topic, or if she’d like you to come back another time to continue.

Scheduling your memory sharing sessions may sound very formal, but getting a date on a calendar helps ensure you won’t indefinitely put it off. So if Grandma does say she wants you to come back another time to finish, make sure to put that date on your calendars.

There are many more things we can do to prepare to interview our loved ones about their personal and family stories, and if you’re interested in learning more or need help figuring out your oral story technology, please reach out on our website. However, these three major things will get you on the right track. My advice is to come prepared with the right tech, be genuine, and be curious!

Stay tuned for Part 8, where we’ll talk about what to do with these recordings once you have them. Or, if you’d like to read this series from the beginning, click here for Part 1.