DEAR ABBY: Several years ago my mother-in-law had to be placed in a nursing care residence because of dementia. When I visited her, it became more and more difficult to find things to talk about, until one day I came across her old address book. The idea struck me to take it with me each time I visited her, and what a success it was!
I started at the beginning of the "A" section, giving her a name and asking her to tell me about that person. She remembered a lot about most of the people in the book and related wonderful stories of friendships in rural America during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Of course, there were hardships, too. She and my father-in-law worked side-by-side on the farm to support their family.
Our "story time" visits continued until full-blown Alzheimer's disease set in. I only hope she enjoyed our times together as much as I did. They were special to me, and I'd always leave the nursing home with a smile. -- FOUND A WAY IN KANSAS
DEAR FOUND A WAY: I'm sure your mother-in-law enjoyed those visits, and what a treasure trove of family history she must have shared with you. Please write down all the stories you remember for the rest of the family because they are priceless. Your idea was brilliant, and thank you for sharing it with me and my readers.