Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How to choose a quality memory book or memory journal

You may be interested in a memory book for your mother, father, grandmother, or grandfather. Not all memory books are created equal. Here is what to look for in a memory book or "memory journal" for your parents or grandparents. Sometimes having some structure makes it easier to interview a parent or grandparent. Here are some things to watch for when choosing a memory book or memory journal:
1) How are the questions organized? Does it provide a clear structure to allow your loved one to cover all the major events of life? Does it make it easy for them to describe people that shaped their lives, memories from growing up, adulthood, and beliefs and values? These are all critical to building a complete life story. Memory books should offer many topics that may not be obvious. For example, topics like pets, volunteerism and philanthropy, friendship, and lessons through the years are all parts of life that can be written about.
2) Will the memory book evoke the kinds of things you as children or grandchildren really want to know? In other words, do the questions get to the core of WHO your mom or dad really is and inspire them to reminisce more? Will the autobiography questions go deep enough? For example, some memory books might only provide two or three questions about your mother's parents, while the Memory Journal has fourteen questions on the topic of "Mother" alone.
3) Is the memory book asking positive or neutral questions? A memory book's questions should not be leading a person to answer in a negative way (although they can always choose how they will answer a question). For example, one memory book asked the question, "Did your mother hug you enough as a child?" Not a very good question to ask. Even if your mother hugged you plenty, you start to ask yourself, "Did she hug me enough?" Instead, the Memory Journal asks you to... "Describe your mother to someone who has never met her." The tone of questions is positive or neutral.
4) Is there a next step? Can the memory book become something more? Families are typically interested in having a copy of a parent's or grandparent's memory book. Although the pages can always be copied and simply stapled or bound together, there are other ways to bring the story to a final form. For example, the Memory Journal's questions match those found at LifeBio.com so you can easily transfer information from the journal to the web. Next, one or multiple copies of leather, hardcover books can then be made from the person's story and distributed to family and friends.
We hope you enjoy hearing the stories and memories of your loved one. A memory book will bring out many things that don't come up in typical conversation. If you have the time, it is wonderful to ask the questions over the phone especially if you live faraway from your mother or father. Don't miss out on the amazing things your older relatives have to share.

There's no time like the present and no better gift to the future.

Is your New Year's Resolution to capture life stories of a loved one?

I was reminded over the holidays as we sat around the dinner table that these are precious people staring back at me. My parents are extra special and so are my aunts and uncles. I look at their lives and realize all the good times and hardships that have shaped them over the years. I realize that they have interesting opinions and perspectives on life that deserve to be recorded and remembered by me, by my children, and someday by my grandchildren....and on. Since I am the founder of LifeBio, I've done my best to capture their life stories in print and audio recording (some video recording too), to know them deeply, to record their voices and photos. There are more questions I could ask. There are more people, times, and places that they could share with me. It's such a gift to me when I interview them that I need to set aside some time to work on my own family more. Such interesting people. There's nothing more fascinating than people's life stories.

Is your New Year's Resolution to write an autobiography?

Resolve to begin writing an autobiography. It's funny but so many people think they have nothing to say. I met a gentleman just the other day and told him about the work we do at LifeBio and how we've helped thousands of people with our autobiography template. He laughed and said, "I've got nothing to say." I reminded him that his life is made up of all these incredible people who came before him--parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts. He's also got a ton of memories from his childhood and he can discuss historical events too. Then there is his life as an adults--work, love, marriage, kids, grandkids. Of course, there's his values and life lessons too. So I convinced him (I think) that he actually has something to say, and I reminded him that he's the only person who can actually do it. No one else can share the people, times, and places of his life.

Monday, December 28, 2009

We've learned a thing or two. Wisdom is a good thing.

I'm a bit older and wiser now. This uncertain decade has taught me a few things. September 11th taught me that life is precious--every day is a gift. Jobs may disappear. Home values may drop. It's easy to be fearful and doubtful....but better days are ahead. But it's the people that matter the most. Expressing love and listening is very important right now. Yes, it's a good thing that we're all a bit older and wiser.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Free family and friends conversation kit -- perfect questions for that family gathering!

We hope you enjoy the new conversations and connections that happen as a result of using LifeBio.com’s Family & Friends Conversation Kit. LifeBio makes it easy to capture life stories. Enjoy reminiscing with family and making new friends too. Interview grandma. Interview grandpa. Interview mom or dad! Write an autobiography or learn how to write an autobiography. With LifeBio, it’s as simple as answering straightforward biographical questions. You should write a book! LifeBio gives you the structure to get started without delay.

http://www.lifebio.com/conversationkit.pdf

How to write an autobiography

Writing an autobiography really doesn't have to be rocket science. Here are 5 great tips to help you get started.

1. Think. Think about the people who shaped you, your childhood memories, the real world of adulthood, and the values and lessons you have learned through the years.

2. Ask. Ask questions of your relatives when you are together or by phone. After all, their lives are a big part of your life. Change your conversations from the same-old, same-old to something new. You've probably never asked a parent or grandparent to describe their childhood neighborhood to you.

3. Write. Answering questions is a great way to get started (www.lifebio.com). You've just got to put pen to paper and not be afraid of grammar or spelling (www.memoryjournal.com). Some of the most amazing stories are just raw, honest, and from YOUR point of view. Nothing fancy.

4. Edit. Your family and friends really don't want every detail of your life recorded. This is not a blog...it is your life story! Some of the deep questions of life mean more than knowing just the facts or just the funny family stories. Give your family and friends a little bit of everything in your story.

5. Preserve. Your story could be on your hard drive, saved on a website, or sitting on a CD somewhere. Create a book from your story--and make sure key people get a copy of your autobiography. Ensure your family can easily locate this along with your other important papers. You've made the effort so it's important that your stories live on--long after you're gone. Genealogists and your great-great-great grandchildren will thank you! Your story is a gift.

Beth Sanders
Founder & CEO
LifeBio.com

Saturday, December 19, 2009

There's no time like the PRESENT and no better GIFT to the future. The gift of memories

What better gift can your loved one give you than the gift of his or her life stories? You can give them the gift and answer the questions, "How do I write an autobiography?" Frankly, many people have wanted to do it, but they aren't sure where to start. LifeBio makes that easy by giving the prompting questions that are exactly made for people of different backgrounds and ages to create a lasting record of life lessons, values, traditions, and memories. There's no time like the PRESENT and no better GIFT to the future.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

All I want for Christmas is...

Dear __________________, (Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Sue, Uncle Bill or another loved one)


All I want for Christmas is your life story recorded.

I always want to be able to read your book and know that important things have been recorded. I know this is a priceless gift and it's something that only YOU can give me. Now, when I say your life story, I mean that I want you to share....

• your memories from childhood (even little details like your best friend, favorite toy, game, food, radio/TV program, etc.).

• historical events and how they affected you and our family.

• heirlooms that mean a lot to you and WHY they mean a lot.

• those funny stories you always tell me when we're talking on the phone.

• our family history (not just genealogy but what makes our family tick). Also, I can't remember that one important fact about our family that I wish I had written down by now.

• what a day was like when you were a kid.

• what great-grandpa liked to do.

• the names of the people in the photo album that I don't know.

• what hopes and dreams you have for the future.

Also, could you talk about ME. What was it like when you held me for the first time? What funny things did I do or say when I was a kid? Do you have any words of advice for me? These things don't come up in normal conversation most of the time. Yes, I'd really appreciate it if you'd write an autobiography about YOU. That's the book I want the most. If it is recorded, it won't be lost or forgotten. Thank for giving me a priceless gift.

Love,

YOUR NAME GOES HERE

Sunday, December 06, 2009

How to begin an intergenerational oral history project

1. Decide who will participate. Is there a likely connection between older adults and youth in your community? For example, a group of older people in your church and a church youth group. OR seniors living in assisted living and the high school National Honor Society.

2. Define the scope of the project. Will this be a short term or more long term program? One session or multiple times of meeting together? Keep it simple at first. Not too many participants (maybe 5-6 of each age group) and just meet together 1-2 times to see how it goes.

3. Determine the resources you need. Storyboards are a wonderful idea and so are Story Cards that get people talking about things they don't normally discuss. Computer projects or memory journals can also be great tools for capturing the life stories of older adults. Maybe the older adults can capture the life stories of the youth too! It can be a two-way street.

4. Connect. Once you have a plan--go for it! Don't worry that everything has to be perfect, but try your best to break the ice and bring older adults and youth together comfortably. An opening fun introduction or some kind of food shared will help people start to talk before they jump into the oral history project.

5. Evaluate. Make sure you survey your first participants and learn from the experience. Then you can incorporate this knowledge into your growing program...and see great success!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Great Story & Your Story: an intergenerational Bible study

Many churches are seeking ways to bring the generations together. This 12-week Bible study is designed to make that possible. This study goes through 12 stories from the Bible and then the co-authors share their own unique perspectives on the biblical stories. The small group is invited to then share their own story of how the Bible story relates to their own lives. Amazing results...includes worship service ideas and leader's ideas at the back of the book. $14.95 for 1-4 quantity. $11.00 for 5 or more books. www.lifebio.com. SHOP or call 1-866-543-3246

This study would also be ideal for conducting Bible study in senior living or active aging communities.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving good wishes from LifeBio.com

Ready for your family gathering? Want to make it more meaningful than ever? Download LifeBio's Family & Friends Conversation Kit now. Just visit http://www.lifebio.com/ for access. Connect and listen.

LifeBio's Memory Journal makes Caring.com's holiday gift guide list


The LifeBio Memory Journal is especially suited to an older person who enjoys writing. This lovely gift is a book of creative, memory-jogging questions about life, with sufficient space after each question to capture handwritten answers. It creates a wonderful opportunity for a grandparent to pass on stories and wisdom to the next few generations.


The journal asks more than 250 questions, such as, "How would you describe your mother to someone who has never met her?" Or "What skills did you inherit from your parents?" Other questions ask the writers to recall their favorite birthday party as a child, the neighborhood they grew up in, or a favorite subject when they were in high school. The resulting answers can be transferred to an online LifeBio journal and merged with scanned pictures to become a hardbound LifeBio book that can be copied multiple times and given to different family members.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Keep your family history alive

Sharing stories encourages a closer, more meaningful relationship with your children and grandchildren. Family's stories are worth telling because you may be able to describe people, times and places that no one else in the family knows about. Lastly, you can help the next generation—inspiring, teaching and modeling strength and courage for them.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Family & Friends Conversation Kit...download it now

Who are these people sitting around the Thanksgiving table? How much do you really know about your own parents or grandparents? It's time to talk about something more interesting than weather, health, sports, or food. Go to http://www.lifebio.com/ and access the FREE Family & Friends Conversation Kit. It's a great day of listening!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The gift of memories - a unique gift for that person who has everything

We all know that person who truly has EVERYTHING. They want for nothing, but we still want to give them something. What can you possibly give them this Christmas or Hanukkah that they could really use?

Consider the gift of LifeBio. They can work online to capture their own life stories....or you can be thousands of miles away and interview them and type their memories into LifeBio's proven online template.

If they would rather write in a journal, give them the Memory Journal. With only 6% of Americans ever writing an autobiography or biography, there are plenty of parents and grandparents who need to capture their stories now--before it's too late. So it does make a great gift.

I can guarantee one thing. If their memories are not recorded, they will be lost or forgotten. There will be no regrets if you get started now.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Free Download from LifeBio.com promises meaningful dinner conversations

Thanksgiving is all about family togetherness, but how many Americans will be able to move this year's table conversation away from the same old talk about sports, weather and cranberry sauce? Older loved ones can be gold mines of wisdom and experience as well as windows into living history, yet many families may never discover these "nuggets" simply because they don't ask the right questions.

Just in time for the holidays, LifeBio is offering a free Family and Friends Conversation Kit, available at http://www.lifebio.com/  through December 31, 2009. Company founder, Beth Sanders, guarantees the kit will make family dinner conversations richer and more meaningful.
"Thanksgiving is one of the best opportunities families have to permanently capture family stories and make them last forever," stated Sanders.
LifeBio's free Family and Friends Conversation Kit includes....

1. Life story questions ideal for Thanksgiving Day or anytime. These table tents can actually be printed and set right on the dinner table. Answer cards for recording memories are provided.
2. LifeBio's 7 Tips for Interviewing
3. Ideas for kids to draw or write the memories being discussed
4. 5 good reasons to capture life stories NOW

"Everyone has a story to tell, yet not everyone knows it, or knows quite how to tell it. That's where LifeBio comes in," Sanders said.

LifeBio offers numerous other ways to capture life stories. A web membership to http://www.lifebio.com/  provides access to over 250+ life story questions about the people who shaped you, historical events, childhood memories, love, jobs and careers, family relationships, beliefs and values. LifeBio also offers a Memory Journal and provides Video and Phone Recording options.

Sanders founded LifeBio in 2000 to help people capture life stories, having been inspired by interviews with her own grandmother.

"I learned so many valuable life lessons from my grandmother because my intentional questions excavated her most cherished memories and most meaningful life experiences. I felt so fortunate to have her answers to those questions. Now, LifeBio gives other families that same opportunity," she said.

Since 2000, LifeBio has helped thousands of people tell and share life stories. Retirement communities, senior groups, churches, and individuals all have used LifeBio's simple, proven approach to record and share family histories, biographies, autobiographies, and family photos.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Capturing the Essence of Your Life

You are amazing. Simply amazing. There is no one else like you. You can describe people, times, and places that no one else could ever share. You are completely unique and you should write a book. If you've always wanted to capture the essence of your life (or even if you've never thought about it until right now), it's a good idea to write an autobiography. Besides it being a very special gift for children, grandchildren, other family or friends, it allows you to explore who you are. You can take a bit of time to explore what has brought you to this time and place. Review your accomplishments. Remembers the joys and challenges that you've experienced. You've made it this far...now what's next? When you write your life story, you'll have the basis for planning the next miles in your life's journey. What are you waiting for?
www.lifebio.com

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Powerful Relationships & Writing Life Stories

Really knowing your parents or grandparents is a great thing. Many families don't always feel like they have a strong relationship with older generations and they aren't sure where to start. It's not easy but it is worth doing. You can build a relationship by interviewing your parents or grandparents. Along the way, you can also have the privilege of helping them to write down life stories.

The gift of life stories is priceless. The good news is that younger generations will have the autobiographies of their great-grandparents and even great-great grandparents, and it won't just be all about genealogy dates and places. It will be capturing the essence of the person. What made him or her unique? What events of life had the biggest impact? What are these life lessons and wisdom (so we don't make the same mistakes)?

Along the way, you can and will build a stronger relationship as you listen to the stories, hear the joys and challenges, and see what you and your older relatives have in common--you are more alike than you think! It will really and truly have the power to change your life. 

--Beth Sanders, Founder of http://www.lifebio.com/, 1-866-LIFEBIO, info@lifebio.com

Thursday, September 17, 2009

7 Tips for Successful Interviewing - LIfeBio.com

L - Listen
I - Investigate
F- Find Values
E - Emotions
B - Be Prepared
I - Interest
O - Open-Ended Style

Receive free life story interviewing tips and a free autobiography template at http://www.lifebio.com/

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Aegis Living's blog -- VERY interesting, WORTH reading

http://aegisliving.blogspot.com/

Need help interviewing a parent or grandparent?

LifeBio now offers professional, personal interviews by phone. The interview questions are provided and you can decide just what should be asked. Customize the questions if you wish. Affordable and fun....you and your loved one will appreciate the MP3 file--listen to the interview on your iPod with an MP3 file provided. The new and best way to record life stories by phone. We'll do the work for you.

Take the Positive Aging Perception Quiz

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Autobiography Gift...uncommon gift but priceless

Only about 6% of Americans create a lasting legacy for their kids and grandkids. Too few...too little...too late. Autobiography Template is available at www.lifebio.com so you can get started without delay.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Celebrate Active Aging Week - Sept 21 - Sept 27

As a preferred vendor of the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), LifeBio wants to encourage older adults to participate in activities that promote wellbeing the week of Sept. 21-27. Over 100 studies in the last 10 years have shown that reminiscence lowers depression, increases life satisfaction, and helps in building meaningful relationships. We invite you to visit http://www.lifebio.com/ and begin your life story to celebrate Active Aging Week! There's no time like the present and no better gift to the future!

Dr. John Dykers' End of Life Plan from Annie's Mailbox

Dear Annie: I'm so glad you brought up the end-of-life plan dilemma faced by "Aunt Thelma, Uncle John and Marie." I am a doctor, and my patients have universally embraced my own end-of-life plan as follows:
"If you can fix me, please do. If you can't fix me, please help me avoid pain, fear, lack of air, hunger, nausea, thirst, loss of dignity and prolonging the dying process. I understand it might take a few days to figure out whether you can fix me or not."
This format helps facilitate conversation between generations without the feeling of abandonment. Most of us old folks don't fear death as much as the process of dying or prolonged disability. — John R. Dykers Jr., M.D.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

How to write an autobiography - LifeBio.com Demonstration

New video shows the benefits of an online autobiography template to write your life story or write the life story of a loved one.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Professional phone interview to capture life stories

Call 1-866-543-3246 or 614-580-0333 to have LifeBio interview your loved one by phone. MP3 file provided within 24 hours of the interview. Questions cover people, times, and places that no one but your parent or grandparent can share. Need some help? Call us or email us at info@lifebio.com.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

5 Tips for Interviewing Grandparents, Write an Autobiography

1. Don't delay and don't talk yourself out of it. It's time to capture your grandparents' life stories in print, on video, via audio, or writing via the web. Grandparents' life stories are far more interesting than you can ever imagine. Really and truly, your own parents can tell you things that no one else can share. Avoid regrets and a feeling of loss by making sure you've captured their life stories before it's too late.

http://www.lifebio.com/

2. Find the story behind their pictures. A great place to start is to review an old photo album together. Record what they say about a few of their favorite pictures. You aren't going to have time to get the story behind every picture, but you can get a few of grandma's favorite memories or grandpa's favorite memories through pictures. Pick the ones that are really funny or the ones where their eyes light up as they tell the tale. A picture is worth 1,000 words.

3. Structure is good. You will probably be glad you did your homework and you know what you want to ask when you get together with grandma or grandpa. You can always ask questions over the phone or email that tech-savvy parent with your questions. LifeBio's structure for example would have you ask about people in their lives, childhood memories and historical events, the real world of adulthood, and end with values, beliefs, life lessons, and more.

4. Pick a quiet place for an interview. If you are planning to use a video camera, you'll want to pick a quiet spot free of distractions for interviewing mom. If you are interviewing dad and the phone rings or someone walks in the room, it just takes away from the video. Post a sign on the door--do not disturb. Test your equipment and test the spot where you are recording. You want the video to show up well with the lighting in the room. LifeBio's Video Recording Kit may be something you want to consider because it includes our Guide to Interviewing and Recording and all the equipment you'll need.

5. Smile a lot and speak up. Grandma and grandpa want to know that you are glad to be recording their stories. Also, be sure you are speaking loudly and clearly so you don't have to repeat questions. Mumbling is not a good idea when you are the interviewer. Have confidence in yourself and make sure they know how much you want these life stories told. You can help them do something important by capturing mom's life stories or dad's life stories for all time. This is a priceless gift to both of you--and it just might change your life!

http://www.lifebio.com/

Writing an autobiography has never been easier

How to write an autobiography? How do I write my life story? Well, it's not as tough as you might think. You can certainly do it yourself. You just need to know what to ask. Here are five sample questions to prime the pump of your memories. You can start TODAY.

5 Sample Questions for Writing an Autobiography

1) Describe your town, neighborhood, and the environment around your childhood home.
2) Tell about your childhood friends and your favorite things to play. Describe a favorite hiding place or place to be alone.
3) Do you have a special hobby such as woodworking, gardening, painting, or something else? Why do you enjoy doing this? Do you share this hobby with anyone close to you?
4) What is the best part of your day?
5) What are your secrets for living the good life?

So that's just the beginning.... but take a look at www.lifebio.com if you'd like more great ideas on how to write an autobiography. We have a fantastic autobiography template just waiting for YOU!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Masterpiece Living - excellent resource to encourage successful aging/wellness

Successful Aging - www.mymasterpieceliving.com -- 70% of physical aging is determined by lifestyle... the choices we make every day.

Benefits of Reminiscence for Memory Care

This white paper will summarize the large body of research documenting the effects of reminiscence with older adults. These studies reveal that reminiscence is effective for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Objects are particularly useful in bringing back powerful memories. Life stories are also creating new conversations and bonds between families, staff, volunteers, students while leading to a higher sense of purpose and meaning for elders.

Benefits of Reminiscence for Culture Change/Person-Centered Care

This white paper will summarize the large body of research documenting the effects of reminiscence especially with older people in retirement community settings. These studies reveal that recalling and sharing life stories has the power to lower depression, exercise the brain, and engage those with dementia. Life stories are also creating new conversations and bonds between families, staff, volunteers, students while leading to a higher sense of purpose and meaning for elders.

Check out LifeBio's new COMMUNITY page

Retirement communities, senior centers, assisted living, skilled nursing are all fantastic places for LifeBio to be in action. Promoting innovation, wellness, brain fitness, and the importance of building relationships at any age! Autobiography for everyone!

http://www.lifebio.com/communities.htm

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

LifeBio Story of the Month - Mary Coombs

Grandmother and granddaughter connect long distance to discover each other with the help of LifeBio. Read more about Mary and her granddaughter, J.D.

http://www.lifebio.com/LifeBiooftheMonth/Mary%20Coombs%20Story.pdf

It's time to interview mom or dad, grandma or grandpa with LifeBio. YOUR family members are unique and writing an autobiography or writing a biography is something that LifeBio makes easy. When are you going to get started? Don't delay.

Writing your life story is easier than every before.

LifeBio: Benefits for Retirement Communities, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing

LifeBio works with dozens of communities and chains of retirement communities to help in the following ways....
1. Attracting new residents and their families, showing your commitment to personalized service and care.
2. Making culture change happen through developing stronger relationships and more person-centered individualized activities (F-248)
3. Forming great friendships between new and existing residents.
4. Improving staff morale by building stronger relationships with residents.
5. Reducing loneliness by involving adult volunteers and younger generations with a meaningful and fun structure for visits.
6. Providing a heartfelt gift of the resident's life story to give to loved ones.
7. Delivering resources to make telling your community's story easier--through the stories of your amazing residents. Publicity abounds!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

3 Tips for a Celebration of Life

Celebrations of Life can and should be expanded to include the life story, not just the pictures, of a loved one.

1. Remember life stories to go with pictures shared. If you are creating a display of pictures, include a paragraph or two that describes the people, times, and places noted in the pictures. A picture is almost always worth 1,000 words (or at least a few sentences).

2. Be intentional about having people share their own memories of your loved one and record these memories. At a celebration of life or memorial service, give people cards that say... "I remember..." or "One of my fondest memories is...." or "Grandma touched my life by..." It will help people think about a special way this person touched their lives, and the rest of the family will enjoy reading these at a later time.

3. Do your best to capture the life stories of other loved ones--and celebrate their lives--before they pass away. Life celebrations are especially powerful when your loved one is there to experience it. We have found that older adults love to create autobiographies with the help of family or friends (http://www.lifebio.com/ can help). Also, they can help in creating a storyboard--a display of their pictures and life stories--to share with their children and grandchildren. Make sure everyone has the opportunity to say or write down their memories during a special birthday or anniversary celebration. It will make for a fun and interesting experience for everyone. Appreciation and love will abound!

Beth Sanders is the author of the Memory Journal (http://www.memoryjournal.com/) and the founder of http://www.lifebio.com/. She resides in Marysville, Ohio with her husband and two children.

4 Tips for Creating a Memory Book for Alzheimer's

People with memory problems can benefit greatly from creating a memory book, and many local Alzheimer's Association chapters recommend this. A memory book can benefit both the person with dementia and his or her caregivers.

1. The process is as important as the product. The creation of a memory book shouldn't be just a one-time event. Instead, the ideal situation is for the creation of the memory book to be an ongoing process where the person is asked questions over a period of time to stimulate their memory and to continually build a strong relationship with one or more caregivers. The process of capturing the memories, assembling pictures, and discussion is as important as any finished product--a beautiful memory book.

2. Pictures help a person with memory loss to remember....but this is not a quiz. It is wonderful to look through photo albums and reminisce together, but it's NOT time to quiz the person with memory loss to see who they remember and who they don't remember. Be patient and keep the questions more specific for your loved one. You don't need to start every sentence with... "Do you remember..." because the answer could be "no" a lot. Instead, ask more specific or yes or no questions. For example, instead of saying, "Do you remember your wedding day?" you could ask a few yes or no questions or more specific questions like... "Was it hot on your wedding day?" or "What did your wedding dress look like?" or "Did you go on a honeymoon? Where did you go?"

3. The more you know, the more you love. People with memory loss are sometimes difficult to care for, but a memory book helps the caregiver see this person with new eyes. They have led a rich and interesting life with people, times, and places to share. It's important to see them as a child, a youth, a worker, a parent, and a grandparent. There is always more caring and empathy when the whole person is understood. It can also help a caregiver understand behaviors that may occur with Alzheimer's--things sometimes tied to an event from the past or childhood.

4. Share what you learn in the memory book. The memory book will be an ongoing source for discussion as someone comes to visit whether in a private home or in a nursing home or assisted living setting. It works out well when there are pictures found to complement the memories and they are DISPLAYED as part of a loved one's care plan. It doesn't help anyone if these memories are hidden in a book in a drawer somewhere. Make it easy for caregivers to see and use the information gathered in daily conversation.

_____________________________________

Beth Sanders is the author of the MemoryBio Photo Album & MemoryBio Journal--designed for building relationships and capturing memories through a generic photo album containing over 200 colorful pictures and 35 themes such as Hometown & Neighborhood, Travel & Vacations, Jobs & Careers, and many more. Answers and pictures are then compiled in the MemoryBio Journal. This tool won the 2009 Caregiver Friendly Award along with LifeBio.com's other memory capturing products. See the "Shop" button at www.lifebio.com for more information.

5 Tips for Interviewing Mom & Dad

5 Tips for Interviewing Mom & Dad

1. Don't delay and don't talk yourself out of it. It's time to capture mom's story in print, on video, via audio, or writing via the web. Mom's life story or dad's life story is far more interesting than you can ever imagine. Really and truly, your own parents can tell you things that no one else can share.
2. Find the story behind their pictures. A great place to start is to review an old photo album together. Record what they say about a few of their favorite pictures. You aren't going to have time to get the story behind every picture, but you can get a few of mom's favorite memories or dad's favorite memories through pictures. Pick the ones that are really funny or the ones where their eyes light up as they tell the tale. A picture is worth 1,000 words.
3. Structure is good. You will probably be glad you did your homework and you know what you want to ask when you get together with mom and dad. You can always ask questions over the phone or email that tech-savvy parent with your questions. LifeBio's structure for example would have you ask about people in their lives, childhood memories and historical events, the real world of adulthood, and end with values, beliefs, life lessons, and more.
4. Pick a quiet place for an interview. If you are planning to use a video camera, you'll want to pick a quiet spot free of distractions for interviewing mom. If you are interviewing dad and the phone rings or someone walks in the room, it just takes away from the video. Post a sign on the door--do not disturb. Test your equipment and test the spot where you are recording. You want the video to show up well with the lighting in the room. LifeBio's Video Recording Kit may be something you want to consider because it includes our Guide to Interviewing and Recording and all the equipment you'll need.
5. Smile a lot and speak up. Mom and dad want to know that you are glad to be recording their stories. Also, be sure you are speaking loudly and clearly so you don't have to repeat questions. Mumbling is not a good idea when you are the interviewer. Have confidence in yourself and make sure they know how much you want these life stories told. You can help them do something important by capturing mom's life stories or dad's life stories for all time. This is a priceless gift to both of you--and it just might change your life!
www.lifebio.com

Whose story do you want to capture?

Maybe you're thinking about telling and sharing your own life story. You've always wanted to write a book and LifeBio can help you take that first step by moving you step-by-step through the autobiography process.

Maybe you're thinking about helping a loved one (parent, grandparent, best friend, or other people) tell and share his or her life stories. LifeBio's questions change out your conversations and give you something interesting to talk about.

We want you to know that LifeBio is useful in both situations. In fact, you can start your own LifeBio and work on someone else's too--with one password-protected LifeBio membership.

Life stories are a priceless gift. You'll be surprised at the new information you learn about yourself and the people you love. LifeBio helps people write what other people would like to read.

People who use LifeBio:

1. Parents
2. Grandparents
3. Genealogists
4. Scrapbookers
5. New Writers
6. Students/Grandchildren
7. Teachers
8. Adult children (with parents/grandparents)
9. Social Workers
10. Home Visitation Volunteers
11. Chaplains
12. Hospice Volunteers
13. Nurses
14. Activities Directors
15. Wellness Directors
16. Geriatric Care Managers

Grandma and granddaughter connect long distance using LifeBio.com

J.D. Whitman discovered the life of an amazing person, her grandmother--Mary Katherine O’Grady Coombs, when she began a school project using LifeBio.com.

Every Sunday for about five months, 17-year-old J.D. called 83-year-old Mary on the telephone because their homes are separated by hundred of miles—from western to eastern Pennsylvania. They also spent a week together working on the project. Using the more than 250 questions available at LifeBio.com as a guide, J.D. began typing her grandmother’s life story into LifeBio’s web template. Here are excerpts from Mary Coombs’ 83-page, hardcover LifeBio Book.

Read Mary's LifeBio....
http://www.lifebio.com/LifeBiooftheMonth/Mary%20Coombs%20Story.pdf




writing an autobiography, memory book, interviewing grandma

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Marketing to Baby Boomers

David Weigelt's book is a must read. Brilliant. Check this out if you want to impact the Baby Boomer market and reach them online.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Take a Memory Journal to your family reunion

Reunions are a great place to use LifeBio's thought-provoking, carefully-crafted biography questions....Read on and start planning YOUR next reunion.

Judy writes, “We were planning a very special family reunion for the immediate family members & spouses only – the first one following the passing of our mother a few years earlier.
I was quite aware of LifeBio and its diverse applications at capturing and sharing family information, so I decided to pull certain pages from LifeBio's Memory Journal and use these as talking points for one designated evening gathering. Each sibling received the information in advance and had ample time to think about what was appropriate to share. On this special evening of sharing, the emotional thermometer was high as we used the thought-provoking questions to stimulate our memories. Because the age span was a 12-year range, there were things discovered by the older and the younger siblings about our parents, in particular. We learned so much more about each other as well. In fact, in some cases, healing occurred because of misinterpretations or not knowing information. It was a GREAT way to revisit our past, a wonderful venue for some hearty laughter, a time for reflection, and an exercise to embrace and appreciate each other and our family heritage. Most important, the LifeBio evening became the catalyst for us to set the next family reunion, which we did that evening!”

Monday, June 22, 2009

Twittering away & created a Twibe too

Twitter is fascinating me. In about 1 week, I have over 300 followers and I've found a ton of people I'd like to follow too. See my Twitter account at www.twitter.com/lifebio

I also created a new thing called a "Twibe". A Twibe is like a specialized group that people want to follow. So the twibe I created is... http://www.twibes.com/group/aging

Please feel free to follow either the Twitter account or the Twibe. Remember that LifeBio makes writing an autobiography easy. We also have a terrific memory book called the Memory Journal.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

LifeBio receives caregiver award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact:
Beth Sanders
LifeBio.com
937-303-4574
bsanders@lifebio.com
http://www.lifebio.com/

Marysville, Ohio – LifeBio, Inc. is the recipient of the 2009 Caregiver Friendly Product Award by Today’s Caregiver magazine.

LifeBio helps people to tell and share life stories, preserving memories and relationships to last for generations. LifeBio.com simplifies the publishing process so that anyone can create their own autobiography book by using LifeBio’s carefully-crafted questions either online or in a Memory Journal. In addition, LifeBio's new MemoryBio program works for those with Alzheimer's Disease or other forms of dementia--an excellent photo-based tool for caregivers to use when conversing with a loved one. LifeBio's group offerings provide curriculum for local LifeBio 101 classes to be offered in the local area to older adults and caregivers.

Beth Sanders, LifeBio founder and CEO, said, “LifeBio provides great products that bring people together to build relationships while capturing and sharing life stories. The result is an opportunity for people of all ages to see and appreciate each other in a new and remarkable way.”

"The Today’s Caregiver award signifies that LifeBio.com and Ms. Sanders understand the value of supporting family caregivers and have created something that not only helps a caregiver care for their loved ones but also improves his or her quality of life in the process,” said Gary Barg, CEO/editor in chief of Today's Caregiver Magazine.

For more information about LifeBio.com, go to http://www.lifebio.com/ or contact Ms. Sanders at LifeBio.com, 246 W. Fifth St., Suite 204, Marysville, OH 43040. Her telephone number is (937) 303-4574.

Learn more about LifeBio.com by visiting http://www.lifebio.com/ or learn more about LifeBio's Certified Community Program by clicking here:
http://www.lifebio.com/Communities.htm

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Read $1,000 Tell Your Life Story Contest Entries

You'll be FASCINATED when you read about the ordinary, extraordinary people who have already entered LifeBio's 2009 $1,000 Tell Your Life Story Contest.

http://www.lifebio.com/stories.htm

YOU should be the next person to enter the contest. Just write about 400 words (about 2,000 characters) about your life and you could be the winner of $1,000.

Enter to win by clicking on this link: http://www.tellyourstorycontest.com

Deadline is August 1, 2009. See our contest in Woman's World Magazine!

You can also start writing your autobiography or use or memory book, the Memory Journal, if you'd like to capture your story. Even write the biography of your mother or father or interview grandma or grandpa!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tell Your Life Story Contest - in Woman's World Magazine!

Fascinating entries are just rolling in to LifeBio's 2009 $1,000 Tell Your Life Story Contest. It's FREE. Please enter now....we are going to be posting some of these amazing life stories soon at www.lifebio.com!

The contest even made it in the May 25th edition of Woman's World Magazine. Check it out! Even interview your mom or interview your dad. They could enter to win $1,000 too!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

#1 online autobiography site announces $1,000 Tell Your Story Contest

Tell your life story and have a chance to win $1,000 in LifeBio's Tell Your Life Story Contest. Just spend a few minutes typing approximately 2000 characters--approximately 400 words to enter. Learn more by visiting www.tellyourstorycontest.com . Deadline to enter is July 31, 2009.
As seen in Woman's World Magazine!

Writing an autobiography isn't rocket science anymore

If you're thinking about writing an autobiography or writing a biography for a loved one or using a memory book to capture your life story, look no further than Harold Benson's life story for inspiration.

Harold worked as a rocket scientist for NASA....but he started designing and building long before his career began...

http://www.lifebio.com/LifeBiooftheMonth/LifeBiooftheMonth.htm

Monday, April 27, 2009

Everyone has a story to tell

Why do people do it? Why are thousands of people capturing their life stories right now? What’s really going on here in the personal history trend that is exploding across America and around the world? What are people hoping to accomplish as they create an autobiography?

It’s about remembering the people in one’s life. Many people are savoring the opportunity to capture what they remember about the generations who came before them. They want to not just tell their own story, but the story of people who never had the chance to tell their own. Their parents or grandparents lived through tough times and persevered nonetheless.

One LifeBio writer said that the process reminded her of all the love she had experienced in her life from her parents and grandparents. It’s about saying, "If I did it, so can you." We all know people in our families who have lived through very difficult and complicated times. They have been affected by the Depression, wars, the Civil Rights Movement, and just the everyday trials of daily life. It’s helpful and inspiring to know that, despite difficulties, they persevered and made it through. With their strength and inspiration, we can make it too.

It’s also about giving advice and passing on values. People recording their life stories have a chance to answer challenging questions that help them share things like get a good education, follow your faith, work hard, and keep your commitments. Plus, people’s words of love to their families practically jump off the page.

It’s about a journey of self discovery. Where have you come from? What have you learned? What’s next in your life? We see the "big picture" when we look back and reflect. This helps clarify where we’re going next and helps to direct our path.

There’s no time like the present and no better, more priceless gift to the future.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What You Might Learn from Your Parents and Grandparents

Back in 1993, I interviewed my grandma. I had the advantage of actually having a degree in English and journalism so I felt compelled to use what I learned to capture the life story of this very special lady. I grew up with her living across the street--so I really thought I already knew her well so the interview was just a good way to get it all recorded.

What was strange was that I felt a bit afraid as I prepared for the interview. I wasn't sure what I should ask. I wasn't sure what I wanted to know. I just jotted down a few of the stories my mother told me that grandma liked to tell.

I spent about 90 minutes with grandma that day, and I was surprised at how much she said that I had never heard before. Here are a few things that my "Grandma Interview" taught me.

1. Grandma wanted to tell me about people I would never know otherwise.
I learned about her parents and grandparents. She could recall conversations that had happened 80 years ago! It was remarkable to feel a new connection with the past and to see what has made our family tick and some of the personalities (not just dates on a family tree) that made our family who we are.

2. Grandma liked talking about her childhood and how history had impacted her life.
Her memory of seeing her first airplane, her side-center basketball days (I never dreamed she played basketball), and the family's first car. She could recall the Flu Epidemic of 1918 and how all the church bells rang when World War I ended. Without setting aside time for recording her life story, I know I would never have heard about these memories.

3. Grandma told me about becoming an adult.
Dating, marriage, children, and her teaching career were all things I knew little about. I was particularly impressed when she told me about the strict schedule she kept for all her housework. It was interesting to see grandma not in one-dimension anymore, but in multi-dimensions. She had once been a little girl (I knew that but it became more real when I heard her stories), then a young woman, then a mom, and now a grandma! She wasn't just grandma anymore.

4. Grandma shared her feelings, beliefs, and values.
She wanted me to know how proud she was of her children and grandchildren. She wanted to record how important her faith was. She wanted to say "I love you" to her whole family so we would always know what was always understood. Her story was a beautiful thing.

Already a member? GREAT! We hope this message has been helpful. Keep going and just answer a few LifeBio.com or Memory Journal questions every day.

Not a member yet? Where should you start? Access the questions that will help you say what matters most.

To buy a LifeBio.com Membership, Click Here

Buy a Memory Journal too, Click Here

5 Reasons Life Stories are Lost + 10 Sample LifeBio Questions

1. You may not think anyone wants to know your life story. You might think, “Who wants to hear about me?” Family and friends really do want this type of information recorded, but they may not have the time to help you do it. To your family and close friends, YOU are who they care about—more so than movie stars, sports heroes, or politicians. They would like to read your book. Too few people actually decide to move forward with their autobiographies. Only an estimated 6% of Americans capture their life stories. So many life stories are lost.

2. You may think you’ll do it someday—procrastination is not a good idea. Life is busy and you’re going to have to carve out time to create a lasting legacy if it’s ever going to get done. You may have taken the time to write a Last Will and Testament, but have you written even one heartfelt letter to present and future generations? Better yet, have you decided to create a more detailed autobiography?

3. You may think you have nothing to say. This is not true. You DO have something to say. With a little structure and prompting questions, you CAN create your own life story. You may need to spend a bit of time focusing on what your wisdom is and what you’d like to pass along, but it will come to you. You can shed light on your advice for work, parenthood, and grandparenthood. You can tell about historical events from your unique perspective. You can share your love and hopes for the future. Just get the creative juices pumping and you’ll be surprised at how much you have to say.

4. You may think your family already knows you. They don’t know you as well as they could or should. Do your children or grandchildren only see you in one way? Do they know anything about your childhood or what it was like when you were growing up? Do they know how history touched your life? Maybe they know a little bit but the details are not something they know. Also, through your life story you have the opportunity to introduce the readers to people, times, and places that they will never know otherwise. They may know you well, but do they know about YOUR grandmother? Or maybe they live in the same city as you, but they don’t know what it was like 40 or 50 years ago. You can transport the readers to a different time and place.

5. You may think that you’re not a good writer. It doesn’t matter. Do the best you can. Just say it! If you can answer a question, you can write your life story. Your family and friends will appreciate the natural “voice” that comes through when you write your own memories and experiences for yourself. You can always run a spell check or ask a friend to help you proofread your do-it-yourself autobiography when you’re ready. LifeBio does our best to make the process easy and enjoyable for you.


10 Sample LifeBio Questions

________________________________________
Section I: The People who Shaped You
- How would you describe your mother to someone who had never met her?
- What is a key lesson you learned from your father?
________________________________________
Section II: Your Memories
- Describe your childhood home, inside and outside.
- If you had money to spend as a child, what did you buy? Were you a
better saver than spender?
- What were your most memorable experiences from high school?
(Think about your first date, school dances, first time you drove a
car to school, band, chorus, clubs, projects, school plays, talent
shows, sports, etc.)
________________________________________
Section III: The Real World
(adulthood)
-What is your favorite work? What is your least favorite work?
-Have you found true love? Describe what true love means to you.
-What is the hardest part of being a parent?
________________________________________
Section IV: Bringing it all Together
-What does it take to succeed in life?
-What was the best time of your life? Why?

Buy a LifeBio membership for $39.95 – https://secure.lifebio.com/shopping/Default.aspx?ProductID=100 - Access 250+ autobiographical questions online. Answer just what you want to answer. Generates a ready-to-print autobiography.

Buy a Memory Journal for $19.95 – www.memoryjournal.com contains the same 250+ autobiographical questions as LifeBio.com. Comes in a beautiful hardcover book format. This book also makes a great gift for a parent or grandparent or other loved one.

Call 1-866-543-3246 or 937-303-4576 or Email us at info@lifebio.com

Monday, April 06, 2009

What my paper route taught me about building community

Back when I was a kid, I delivered the Erie Morning News to about 35 customers in Erie, Pennsylvania each day. I walked or rode my bike around the block every morning through all kinds of weather. It was dark and stormy many mornings. The streets were sometimes covered with worms. Mom or dad would drive me in the winter time thankfully--especially with the big Sunday papers. In the summer, the weather was great but the ink would come off on my hands as the temperature rose.

My customer, Mr. Kirclich, wanted the paper safe and dry inside his door. I just had to be sure to not slam the door (no matter how hard the wind was blowing) or endure his wrath. Mrs. Reuben wanted her paper nice and early--she would call if it seemed too late. Mrs. Hayes didn't care when it came, just as long as the paper arrived eventually.

I dreaded "collecting" the paper route. I had to go around the block, usually on a Saturday afternoon, to ask my customers for money. Actually, I didn't dread it after I got started because my neighbors looked forward to my visits. We would sit at the kitchen table together. They shared cookies; we chatted about my school and my friends. We traded stories about the neighborhood and what was happening in the world. By the time I would finally come home after three hours or so, I would have had a marvelous time. My dinner was usually spoiled by eating my way around the block. It turned out that my paper route was a good thing after all.

I look back on that paper route on Loveland Ave. in Erie, Pennsylvania and I think about what made it special. It was getting to know my neighbors and understanding what made them who they are. They told me about their joys and challenges of life. We were connected through our stories.

Stories help us relate to one another; they build community. Storytelling is an often underestimated technique proven to bridge social distance between families, friends, corporations, government and generations. Both the giver and receiver of stories benefit in a big way.

“Personal narratives are uniquely powerful medium for expressing needs and building bonds. People like to tell their own stories; most like to listen to others’ as well. The pleasures of narrative are addictive,”coauthors Robert D. Putnam and Lewis M. Feldman write in Better Together: Restoring the American Community. Putnam and Feldman encourage people to build "social capital"--there IS value in our social relationships.

If you are looking for innovative ways to build community--helping neighbors to become friends, look to LifeBio's reminiscence programming. If you're ready to take the next step forward with person-centered care, LifeBio can help with a variety of tried and tested ideas for recording life stories. Group programming is available as well as do-it-yourself options.

See the entire 2009 LifeBio Catalog--programming for groups!

http://www.lifebio.com/LifeBio_Catalog.pdf

Call 1-866-543-3246 or visit www.lifebio.com to access our online store. Email us at info@lifebio.com if we can help with any questions.

Autobiographically Yours,

Beth Sanders
Founder & CEO
LifeBio.com

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Family Gatherings are a Great Time for Capturing Life Stories

When you gather this Spring with family and friends, treasure those stories shared around the dinner table.

You may also want to consider interviewing your parents or grandparents. Ask them to share a key lesson they learned from their father or mother. Invite them to describe their town, neighborhood or their childhood home environment. What is the best part of their day? Do they have a bucket list--unfulfilled dreams they would like to pursue without delay?

If you don't ask, no one may ever know. If you don't take the time to record the answers, their life's adventures and amazing experiences may be lost to everyone.

Many times families are just left with a blank memory book because no one took the time to ask the questions. Taking the time to capture and record life stories enriches the giver and the receiver, as well as future generations.

There's still time to order a Memory Journal or a LifeBio.com gift certificate for your use during an upcoming family gathering.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Find meaning in memories: Learn how to capture your own life story

I was recently in Tallahassee, Florida for a special event at Westcott Lakes. Great fun! Here is the link to the article...

http://tallahassee.com/article/20090310/LIVING04/903100301/-1/ARCHIVE

Friday, March 13, 2009

5 Tips for Interviewing Grandma and Grandpa

1. Don't delay and don't talk yourself out of it. It's time to capture grandma and grandpa in print, on video, via audio, or writing via the web. Grandma's life story or grandpa's life story is far more interesting than you can ever imagine. Really and truly, your own grandparents can tell you things that no one else can share.

2. Find the story behind their pictures. A great place to start is to review an old photo album together. Record what they say about a few of their favorite pictures. You aren't going to have time to get the story behind every picture, but you can get a few of grandma's favorite memories or grandpa's favorite memories through pictures. Pick the ones that are really funny or the ones where their eyes light up as they tell the tale. A picture is worth 1,000 words.

3. Structure is good. You will probably be glad you did your homework and you know what you want to ask when you meet with your grandma or grandpa. You can always ask questions over the phone or email that tech-savvy grandparent with your questions. LifeBio's structure for example would have you ask about people in their lives, childhood memories and historical events, the real world of adulthood, and end with values, beliefs, life lessons, and more.

4. Pick a quiet place for an interview. If your planning to use a video camera, you'll want to pick a quiet spot free of distractions for interviewing grandma. If you are interviewing grandpa and the phone rings or someone walks in the room, it just takes away from the video. Post a sign on the door--do not disturb. Test your equipment and test the spot where you are recording. You want the video to show up well with the lighting in the room. LifeBio's Video Recording Kit may be something you want to consider because it includes our Guide to Interviewing and Recording and all the equipment you'll need.

5. Smile a lot and speak up. Grandpa and grandma want to know that you are glad to be recording their stories. Also, be sure you are speaking loudly and clearly so you don't have to repeat questions. Mumbling is not a good idea when you are the interviewer. Have confidence in yourself and make sure they know how much you want these life stories told. You can help them do something important by capturing grandma's life stories or grandpa's life stories for all time. This is a priceless gift to both of you--and it just might change your life!

LifeBio 101 Autobiography Classes are Forming Now

LifeBio classes are forming across the United States and recently Canada too. We're excited to see these classes start in local retirement communities, schools, libraries, and community centers. Typically, LifeBio 101 classes are eight weeks in length, with the last week being a time for celebration. The course is provided in a booklet with group exercises and individual homework, with each participant using the Memory Journal as their guide in writing an autobiography. Although the curriculum was designed to appeal to older adults, we also found that intergenerational groups work out great. Sometimes it's a mother and daughter or father and son taking LifeBio 101 together. Sometimes it is two friends deciding to take the class. It's been amazing to see 96-year-old Vi Gura teaching these classes in Florida. She has taught over 70 people (in seven classes so far) to tell and share their life stories at her senior living community using this curriculum. It's our hope that many more cities will have the LifeBio 101 classes since they are affordable ($399.00 for up to 10 students with all materials plus S&H) and so much fun. We have received tremendous feedback as participants move from being strangers to close friends. Amazing class....

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Gift of Memories. It's Priceless.

For the person who's hard to buy for, for the person who has everything, there is always a priceless gift ready to be given. The gift of memories, life stories, traditions, and beliefs is truly priceless. It's a gift that many of us fail to give. It's a gift that many of us long to receive. Whether it's online at (www.LifeBio.com) or through the Memory Journal memory book (www.memoryjournal.com), or both packaged as a gift, you'll have the perfect gift that will encourage new conversation and connection in your family or among good friends.

Don't think that YOU can't help record those memories too. Sometimes families miss out on great talks by phone, via email, or face-to-face when they aren't involved in the memory recording process. It's not just about memories...this is also a chance to build or start a new relationship, even with your own family.

With Easter family get-togethers, Mother's Day, and Father's Day approaching, keep the priceless gift of memories and autobiography in mind. There's no time like the present and no better gift to the future.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Saving Your Family's Stories: Why It's Important to Keep Your Family's History Alive

"Why should I tell my life story?" It's a good question, one I hear frequently. I can easily rattle off several reasons:

Sharing stories encourages a closer, more meaningful relationship with your children and grandchildren.

Family's stories are worth telling because you may be able to describe people, times and places that no one else in the family knows about.

Lastly, you can help the next generation—inspiring, teaching and modeling strength and courage for them.

Although these are three very good reasons to tell your life story, you should also consider what happens if you don't tell your story. What is lost?

Here are three very important things that evaporate when family stories are not shared.

1. Relationships
Do you really know your parents and grandparents? One woman I worked with, Donna, didn't even know her mother's real first name until she interviewed her. She also felt a new connection to her grandfather—someone she had never known—as her mother recounted stories of him.

Genuine family communication has had some setbacks recently. Movies, TV, computers, video games, iPods and the radio have made family time more difficult to eke out and made it less likely that children will have opportunities to talk with older relatives.

Additionally, family gatherings may seem more and more rushed due to relatives living farther and farther apart.

We have to be intentional about connecting, via the phone or in person, if we can, to be sure the stories and the relationships are not lost. Whether you're a parent or a grandparent, godfather or godmother, uncle or aunt, take the time to tell other family members, particularly the children, who you are, what your family stands for, and how much you care about them.

2. Storytelling Opportunities
When stories aren't recorded, some great storytelling material is lost. It's easy to read our children or grandchildren storybooks, but think about closing the Dr. Seuss book so you can tell them one of our own.

I was away on a trip recently and I decided that I wouldn't miss story time with my children that night. So I shared a piece of my story over the phone. They laughed as I recounted my family's Chicago trip to an exciting international stamp convention (14-year-olds love these kinds of events). All six of us slept in the family station wagon at the most convenient truck stop parking lot and ate Lucky Charms on the tailgate in the morning. Family stories can make for great bedtime or story time material. Reminiscences can contain all the material you need.

3. Values and Beliefs
Stories communicate life experiences and teach the next generation right from wrong. Without family stories, kids miss out on a foundation that could impact them the rest of their lives. Your family could have a long commitment to education or public service or faith. The knowledge of your family's values and beliefs is a foundation for their lives.

As M. Scott Peck pointed out, "Life is difficult." Stories can convey the need for courage when trials and difficulties are encountered. Through stories of war, financial hardships, losses of one kind or another and the larger societal battles over civil and women's rights, our children can see that family members faced and overcame challenges—even death.

Stories can teach how hard work, discipline and strength are needed to accomplish goals.

Real life stories, from your own life and the life of your grandparents and parents, could have a huge impact on the lives of your children and grandchildren as well as future generations. It's time to close the generation gap. Don't lose or forget your stories.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The future of the past

This is a unique time in history. Every man and woman has a voice. Their thoughts and opinions can be expressed for the world to read like never before. Everyone can easily have at least 15 minutes of fame. Now here's a revolutionary thought. What if everyone had an autobiography? What if you didn't have to be rich, famous, or unnaturally brillant to have your own 50-page or 100-page book of stories, memories, life lessons, and values? (Not a photo book with captions--I mean a complete book of your stories and memories and pictures.) Imagine the impact that each person's life story could have on the life of his or her family or friends. Imagine that loved ones aren't just left with a short obituary and a tombstone---they actually know who you are, what you believed, and what you did in your lifetime. Only about 6% of Americans have written an autobiography. Genealogists would certainly love more autobiographies, as they spend countless hours in libraries trying to figure out who their relatives are. Families would be able to open the book for each person in the family and learn something new or gain a unique perspective on life or gain strength and inspiration from someone who took the time to share.

Easy do-it-yourself autobiography creation tools and encouraging family members to reminisce and record stories more. That's the future of the past. www.lifebio.com

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Your Personal Trainer for Personal History

Today I was thinking about the ways that LifeBio helps our clients say what matters most to the people they love. I thought about how our questions and online template motivates people to actually create an autobiography...and that anyone can write a book with the help of LifeBio's structure and questions. So I thought to myself, "We're the personal trainer for personal history!" In fact, where LifeBio 101 classes are offered around the country, it's just like knowing you have an appointment with your coach. You have to keep coming back to class with more information in your LifeBio ready to share. We help you stay motivated. Here's to helping millions of people tell and share their life stories. Seemingly ordinary people have extraordinary things to share. --Beth Sanders

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Great Story & Your Story: Connecting the Bible to Everyday Lives

If your small group or church is seeking an intergenerational Bible study or Bible study for older adult ministry, look no further than The Great Story and Your Story: Connecting the Bible to Everyday Lives. The authors, Dr. Richard Morgan and Beth Sanders, relate scripture to their own personal life stories and then invite the participants to do the same. This new 12-week study covers the following topics:

CHAPTER 1: The Branches of the Family Tree - Theme: family history
CHAPTER 2: The Prodigal Son and Prodigal Father? - Theme: Unbounded love
CHAPTER 3: The Prayer of a Mother - Theme: Prayer
CHAPTER 4: The Blessing of a Grandfather - Theme: Blessings
CHAPTER 5: The Influence of a Grandmother - Theme: Favorite Bible story
CHAPTER 6: The Memories of Childhood - Theme: Accepting the kingdom as a child
CHAPTER 7: The Challenge of Love and Marriage - Theme: Love is patient and kind....
CHAPTER 8: The Gifts of Home and Work - Theme: Home & Work
CHAPTER 9: The Need of a Neighbor - Theme: Good neighbors
CHAPTER 10: The Turning Points of Life - Theme: Turning points
CHAPTER 11: The Presence of Suffering - Theme: Suffering
CHAPTER 12: The Future–Your Journey and Legacy - Theme: Legacy
Writing Your Faith Story
Faith Story Template
Writing Your Heartfelt Letter/Ethical Will
Heartfelt Letter/Ethical Will Template
Leader’s Guide
Order of Worship for the Small Group
Order of Worship for the Church

Here's what others are saying....

People often approach Bible study as an opportunity to learn
facts about ancient people in ancient times, but they struggle to
connect those facts with their own lives in the 21st Century.
Through these twelve Bible studies, plus additional exercises and
a leader’s guide, Morgan and Sanders have provided an engaging,
accessible, and much-needed resource that draws participants into a
lively, welcoming, and personal encounter with sacred scripture.
–Dr. David M. Seymour
Senior Pastor, Mount Zion Lutheran Church

This book is a treasure and a must-have for anyone working in
small group settings. The simple format, with a clear and appropriate
progression, leads the reader from the story in the scriptures
directly to the reader’s own story. This makes the book easily usable
and exciting. As I read through the book, my own memories rose to
the forefront--memories long forgotten, but renewed by the reading
of this book.
–Dr. Miriam Dunson
Presbyterian Minister (retired) & Author

I appreciated not only the richness of the scriptural texts chosen
for use in the book, but also the depth of your storytelling…
I believe you have written a valuable resource for people at midlife
and older adulthood.
– Dr. Rick Gentzler (Richard H. Gentzler)
Director, Center on Aging & Older Adult Ministries
United Methodist Church

In this unique study guide, Dr. Richard Morgan and Beth Sanders
provide a template for recording your story as you reflect on God’s
story. Each lesson opens with a study of scripture and the real-life
stories of some of the Bible’s most notable characters. This is a
dynamic tool that I heartily recommend for churches to use in small
groups, adult education classes, and fellowship circles.
– Leona Bergstrom
Director, LIFETIME, a Ministry of ChurchHealth

Friday, February 27, 2009

MemoryBio unlocks the life stories of those with memory loss

MemoryBio, a picture-based reminiscence and journaling program for people who have Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia and mild cognitive impairment, will be officially released by www.LifeBio.com at the American Society on Aging Conference in Las Vegas, Nev., in March 15-19.

MemoryBio helps family and friends communicate with loved ones who are dealing with memory loss. The 200-page MemoryBio Photo Album provides a variety of 35 different life themes through pictures. Themes such as “Travel & Vacations” or “Cooking, Baking, & Canning” or “Jobs & Careers” are explored. The pictures and carefully-crafted questions help begin conversations—perfect for family visits or small groups.

The accompanying MemoryBio Journal allows family, staff, or volunteers to write down comments shared by the elder with memory loss as they look through the photo album together. In addition, objects and ideas are suggested in MemoryBio bringing the curriculum alive in daily life and impacting all the senses.

Christine Fenn, Vice President of VibrantLiving, a senior living community in Downers Grove, Illinois, finds great value in MemoryBio’s programming. “We value people and we know their memories and experiences and we know that capturing them will only help us deliver even better service and care. That’s why we now use MemoryBio for our memory care programming. It gives the entire staff and residents something new and different to talk about every day.”
Reminiscence allows seniors to take a trip to “pleasanter” days and lowers depression. In turn, families enjoy seeing their loved ones engaged and visiting with others.

“People with memory loss crave eye-to-eye, face-to-face, hand-to-hand communication. That’s what MemoryBio delivers. It’s a genuine and meaningful way to start an interesting conversation together through pictures and appropriate questions for people facing memory loss. Frankly, there just needs to be a move away from the same old talk about food, health, and the weather and that’s where MemoryBio can be a big help,” said Beth Sanders, founder & CEO of LifeBio.

About LifeBio
LifeBio provides innovative ways to capture life stories, preserving relationships to last for generations. LifeBio’s memory and reminiscence products and services are used by senior living communities, churches, schools, and by consumers. For more information, visit http://www.lifebio.com or call 1-866-543-3246.