In a previous post on this Technology for Seniors Made Easy blog, I mentioned my passion for using technology for connecting with, and gaining the support of, family and friends. In addition, we seniors and others have the means for ensuring that we are not left with guilt, regrets and missing memories when a loved one passes on.
All that’s necessary is learning how to use some simple and basic technology, particularly in the area of recording. There are a variety of cost-effective and easy ways that this can be done. In addition to your personal memories, you’ll also happily have tangible recordings of some of your family history that can be shared with other loved ones.
My beloved husband Sam has been gone for more than five years. One of my main regrets is that I have nothing with his voice. I am fortunate to have many love notes written by him to me from the time we first met through our first four and a half months. Then we were married. (Yes, we both knew what we wanted 53 years ago!) Then, for the next 47 years, there were the “perfect” cards and the notes he often added to them. Many of them are still in my possession. Yet I still regret not having his voice. There are, I’m sure, a large number of people who, in addition to absent voices, no longer have the written words either.
How easy it would have been to record Sam, do interviews with him, and to be able to listen to his voice today whenever I have the desire for reliving some of his and our memories.
Five years ago, I could have called into my Audio Acrobat account and had us both talk on the phone, recording as we spoke. Audio Acrobat makes it very simple to save the calls, then listen online or download the recordings to listen to directly on the computer. You can save the recordings and keep access to them as private, or delete them once downloaded, your choice.
Also, five years ago I had a digital camera that did videos as well as take pictures. All three of my digital cameras had, and have, that capability. It simply NEVER occurred to me to do any of this with Sam, even though I had done some phone recordings with my granddaughter and great-nieces.
Today our choices for preserving memories, voice, as well as visual, are so much broader and, in some cases, even easier.
We have smartphones that can record both voice and video, with easy ways that you can send them to yourself, and others, or download them to your computer.
I highly recommend getting comfortable learning how to video with your smartphones, to be ready to do so as soon as you find yourself getting into a conversation, or precious memory, you want to save. The iPhone and iPad have the benefit of switching the camera with a simple tap so that the camera is facing you.
The video above is an example of a spontaneous recording on my iPhone, when my friend Caren last year came to Florida, from Texas. She and some other friends who you hear in the background met in Florida for a visit. It was fun demonstrating and doing the quick video. Better yet it provided a bright moment and new conversation when I happened on the video recently and shared the YouTube link with Caren once again.
Note on Permission and Privacy –
The above video is shared on YouTube with Caren’s permission. Always be sure that you have that before sharing. And although people can search YouTube, it does offer settings to keep your video private. Videos uploaded to Audio Acrobat are only searchable by you, the account owner. They can be viewed by others only if you share the links for them.
ANOTHER QUICK EXAMPLE – Using the iPhone
for simultaneous photographing and recording.
Last year I also used my iPhone “Voice Memo” tool to record an interview with 96-year old Minnie and her daughter Bobbie. At the same time as we were talking and recording, I was able to take dozens of photos of both Minnie and Bobbie. And, it does not have to be a third person interviewing and photographing. It can be you.
An added fun part for me was to be able to take my skills and present some of the content on a new website I then created to celebrate Mothers anywhere. See My Mother Always Told Me.
YOU can be the one that does all of the above, capturing your family history, including creating sites, or blogs. Watch for future posts on how you can be doing phone conference recordings and other forms of preserving memories through photographs and writing, should you so choose.
I will also be be giving you a list of suggested questions, should you not know where to start in having a conversation that you’d like to save.
FINAL NOTE – When I write of building an audio-visual memory bank, I am not advocating a mourner stay in, and continue to live in the past. Rather, there are simply times when the reassurances of the love that was can uplift and inspire you in the present.
Please share your own experiences in the REPLY box below. I’d especially like to know if you have questions regarding any of the above.