Did you know that flexing your creative muscles is just as important as physical exercise? Studies show that participating in theatre performances, singing in group programs, and in the visual arts may improve aging adults’ health, well-being, and independence. Research suggests that acting “childlike” may help boost creative thought.  

Are you looking for a new project? Here are three ways to embrace your inner child and create a tangible legacy or tribute that the entire family will love for years.

Family Tree 

Tracing your family tree and learning about your family’s history has numerous benefits. For starters, it can give you a new sense of identity and self-worth. It can also help you connect with others – from the past, present, and future.

Learning about your family’s history is a great way to stay on top of your health. Instead of leaving blank spaces on patient health forms, you’ll be able to check whether or not you have any health concerns within your family. Knowing this info will not only help your doctors, but it’ll also help you make healthier choices moving forward.

To start a family tree of your own, gather any old records, photos, letters, or newspaper clippings you have that pertain to you and/or your family. Be sure to talk to your relatives, too! Ask your family members about their memories and their extended family. Once you’ve got an understanding of who’s who, write it all down.

If you hit a wall, look to the internet for help. There are several websites out there designed to help people just like you build out their family tree. A few examples include Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org.

Family Recipe Cards 

For many families, the ability to create favorite meals is a treasure passed down through the generations. One way to preserve these memories is to create a family recipe book or shared recipe cards that you and your loved ones can cherish forever.

While making a family cookbook may sound intimidating, the process is simple. First, set some time aside to gather your family’s recipes together. Dig through rows and rows of recipe cards, search through books with pages that are now discolored and slightly torn, or sift through cutouts from boxes or wrappers with quick-and-easy recipes you know by heart.

Once you’ve got your canon together, set everything on the kitchen table and organize each recipe by category. These categories may include breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, or holiday recipes. How you categorize them is up to you. It’s your family cookbook, after all! If you suddenly remember an old recipe that hasn’t made it into print just yet, go ahead and write it down.

Be sure to read through your recipes carefully. If you think a few could use a refresh, take advantage of this opportunity; tweak and test to your heart’s desire. Make annotations, take photos, and compare the original to the revised version — it’s up to you!

When your recipes are ready to go and categorized, it’s time to make your cookbook official. You can upload your recipes online using software like Microsoft or Canva.

Photo: Getty Images

Military Memorabilia Display 

If you or a loved one served in the military, you might wonder whether or not there is a way to creatively commemorate your or their service. Fortunately, there are several ways to preserve your military memorabilia for future generations.

For example, you could create a military memorabilia display. Displaying an American flag, photos, medals, and other related objects in a shadowbox could be meaningful (as in the photo above). You could also take your keepsakes (e.g., certificates, medals, badges, clothing, etc.) to a framing shop. There’s no “wrong” or “right” way to celebrate your patriotism and dedication to our nation.

The Active Aging Series is brought to you by our partner, Cambrian Homecare. Cambrian Homecare has been assisting individuals to stay independent in their homes for 25 years. Flexible experience you can trust, when the best place is still at home.