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Family Reunions


Family reunions were always big fun for my family. Every other year, more than 80 of us would gather in a small South Dakota town for a long weekend. It was a time of laughs, memories and catching up.

As kids, we spent countless hours in the pool playing and choreographing a water ballet that we would present at the end of the weekend. There was always a golf tournament, lots of food, games, and an auction to raise money for a scholarship program.

But mostly, there was a lot of remembering.

Late into the night, the family gathered and told stories of "back then". We laughed about sibling rivalry stories, discussed the latest in world affairs, shared war stories – whether from an actual war, or just someone's own personal war.

Photos were displayed everywhere – in frames, on poster boards, in little albums passed around to show off new babies or grandbabies. Videos from previous reunions played on a loop on the television so we could all see how much had changed in the previous two years.

Family reunions are magical and the memories that are shared and created there are priceless. Those memories become even more precious when someone in the family is diagnosed with Alzheimer's or another dementia. There is a need to keep memories alive, to make sure that a family's legacy is not forgotten.

How has your family preserved family memories? What tips can you share to help other families keep their memories alive?

Home Instead is offering a family reunion to one family who has felt the impact of dementia in their family. Share your story about how dementia has impacted your family; you can write an essay or submit a video. Find out more about the contest and submit your entry at

Your family reunion may not be in a small town in South Dakota, but I can imagine there will still be a lot of laughing, stories, pictures and videos. There will be a lot of reminiscing. A lot of memories shared. A lot of memories made.

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