Thursday, September 30, 2010

LifeBio: Laughter, friendship, and a "great sense of community"#links

LifeBio: Laughter, friendship, and a "great sense of community"#links

Laughter, friendship, and a "great sense of community"

I received this note from Jennie, life enrichment director....They have just completed their first Storyboards and had a LifeBio Celebration in health care.

Thank you so much for developing LifeBio. I cannot tell you how moving this experience has been for our community. Not only does it bring laughter, joy and smiles to many, it brings new friends together and a great sense of community. Thank you again for giving us this opportunity. You are a blessing.

Daughter's experience with her father's LifeBio, sharing his Veteran's Story

I appreciated this note that I received from a woman who just ordered hardcover Legacy Books after typing in her father's memories at

Thank you so much for getting Dad's books to him. He got them yesterday and is very pleased with them. I asked him how he felt about writing it and he told me he just answered the questions I had sent him and he said "I sometimes felt I was bragging cause I'm just an average guy." He thinks the program is a nice thing and he wishes he would of recorded the stories his parents/grandparents had told him. His wife had a grandmother that lived in Russia during the Russian Revolution and she told her many stories when she was very young and now they are lost because she can't remember them. She, too, finds your program valuable and wishes her grandmother's story could have been recorded for the future generations of her family.

I love your LifeBio Program because it offers a few different options for people... It is a way for grandchildren to get to know members of their family they may not of met or even to see Grandma/Grandpa in a different light. Sometimes we forget that they weren't always old. I wish more people would do it with their parents because it really is a good way to bond with them. It was an honor for me to have my dad share his story with me. I really think it brought us even closer. Thank you for a wonderful way to record my dad's story for future generations of our family so they will not forget and to remind us that we all have a story to tell that makes us unique and not just another 'average guy'.

Barb Haak

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Ripple Effect of Love - Culture Change and Person-Centered Care

I work with a lot of senior living communities, assisted living, and skilled nursing homes across the US and Canada. I have found that you can feel the difference when you walk into a community that loves and respects every person in the building.

The ripple effect of love is very powerful when the director or administrator or other leaders in the community starts the waves and keep them going with a simple kind word, a genuine compliment, or smile every day. It will surely ripple over into the lives of families and residents over time. In a professional and caring way, his/her love and respect for the staff needs to be felt equally from laundry to nursing to activity director. Listen carefully to each other's needs and concerns and creative ideas. Help people feel appreciated no matter their pay scale. Everyone is in this together!

I can also see residents in these communities starting the ripple effect themselves. When they are caring and see the workers around them doing all they can to help, it is a wonderful thing too. It means a lot when residents are thankful and loving to the people who could be helping them with dressing or bathing or physical therapy. It is a two-way street, but the ripple effect must start somewhere.

Drop the pebble of love in the water, and watch the ripple effect begin.  That is true culture change.

Friday, September 17, 2010

How Technology Changes Lives: Online Biographies Prove Useful for Person-Centered Care, Family Involvement, and Intergenerational Programming

LifeBio works with dozens of senior living and senior services organizations across the US and Canada. Here are 3 ways that technology impacts lives....

1. Person-centered care - How can people like Robert and Ruby be deeply known? Only by asking the right questions and exploring who people truly are. Life has been an incredible adventure full of people, places, and experiences. Capturing life stories gives us an opportunity to listen and learn and adapt life enrichment programming to what people would really enjoy the most. To know is to love. For example, as part of the LifeBio Certified Community program, communities are given licenses to to capture the stories of residents in skilled nursing, AL, and IL. Tech-savvy residents do it themselves with a membership provided. Family members or volunteers can also help by asking just a few questions. Type the answers online and watch a beautiful story unfold whether someone answers 10, 50, or 200 autobiography questions.

2. Family Involvement whether near or far - It's tough when family members aren't local, but collaborating via the web to build mom's story or grandpa's story is one great way that family CAN be involved--whether they live near or faraway. Now when Betty's daughter calls on Sunday night they can chat about Betty's childhood memories or about her wedding day. Less conversation about the weather, health, and breakfast. MORE conversation that is meaningful and building a stronger relationship. "What do I talk about?" is now no longer a problem.

3. Intergenerational Programming that works - Older adults are a wealth of wisdom and experience. It's just a matter of building a little bridge to connect them with local high schoolers or local college students. Youth are open to REAL relationships. Imagine--eye-to-eye, face-to-face communication--not just texting. And they love technology! So use that to everyone's advantage. Also, Baby Boomers are seeking meaningful volunteer opportunities. Use the computer in your community's library to bring the generations together. What a beautiful relationship will unfold as questions are asked and the biography builds with every visit. Grandchildren could be helping too of course!
Every person is amazingly unique with extraordinary stories to share. Communities focused on person-centered care and using technology to their advantage will transform lives.
How LifeBio works in different areas:

• INDEPENDENT LIVING - Computer-savvy residents and their family members will enjoy accessing to type their autobiographies online. The LifeBio 101 autobiography class uses the Life Story Journal and class guidebooks to capture life stories in a group setting during 8 weeks of lively discussions. The hippocampus area of the brain is put to work---recalling interesting people, events, memories, and life lessons through the years. The class also offers meaningful social engagement and challenging learning.

• ASSISTED LIVING - Assisted living residents could volunteer to work with local high school or college students who will capture their stories at LifeBio's Story Cards provide just the right questions for weekly reminiscence discussion groups. Also, the LifeBio 101 classes have been used in small groups of 3-5 people in assisted living. Research shows that basic writing and reading outloud stimulates the frontal cortex of the brain--so residents are encouraged to write even short sentences (if possible) and read back what they have written. Neighbors become true friends.

• MEMORY CARE - LifeBio's MemoryBio curriculum is available on the web or in book form. It has 35 interesting topics for discussion with over 200 brilliantly-colorful photographs and thought-provoking, simple questions provided for staff members, family, or volunteers to use for conversation starters. Now MemoryBio can also be projected onto a large screen for groups. Answers are sometimes recorded in special journals.

One-on-one visits are enhanced with capturing memories at or using Story Cards, the Life Story Journal, or the Memory Journal. Also, adult or youth volunteers enjoy interviewing residents and creating a Storyboard with photos and memories displayed to celebrate people's interesting lives. LifeBio is great for speech and occupational therapy too. Typing, writing, and speaking skills are improved.

LifeBio impacts ALL areas and helps your overall operations

Monday, September 13, 2010

3 tools for using reminiscence therapy with hospice patients

Autobiographies of hospice patients, biographies of hospice patients, life stories of hospice patients

There is growing interest in reminiscence therapy or narrative care in hospice care. Reminiscence is proven to lower depression, lower physical pain, and increase happiness in study after study. Hospice patients would benefit from a process that provides some structure for creating a lasting legacy. These tools for reminiscence therapy could be used in hospitals, hospice care organizations, or in long term care settings. Reminiscence works for people of all ages and it builds a bridge between younger and older generations too.

A holistic approach to care is key; the mind body connection cannot be discounted. To that end, here are three proven tools for reminiscence therapy. There is also the option to become LifeBio Certified  and gain access to the below resources and additional resources and training.  

1) The Life Story Journal - a simple 72-question autobiography tool with warm up questions leading into background on the people who shaped one's life, historical events, childhood memories, growing up, adulthood memories, and a sharing of beliefs and values. $14.95 (quantity discounts are available) large print available

2) LifeBio Storyboard - An 18-x 24 inch poster that provides a template for creating a beautiful display about a person's life story. When time is of the essence, the storyboard can be the perfect option. The visual nature of it makes it something that all ages can enjoy building. It can be a great way to involve the family in improving the care delivered to a loved one. When caregivers know the person, they can love and care more. Just incorporate 3-7 pictures and some text about the person's life experiences. Storyboards can be displayed at life celebrations.  $14.95 (quantity discounts are available).

3) LifeBio Membership - Online template with over 250+ oral history questions about one's life. It is a complete and thought-provoking process. This template helps people write what family and friends would like to read. You can even generate a hardcover, leather-bound edition of the Legacy Book at the end of the online process or print out the pages on your own printer. Families collaborate to write a biography of a parent or grandparent. Even if someone lives far away, they can call a parent or grandparent on the phone and ask an excellent question and learn something new! ($19.95 lifetime membership)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

ICAA provides successful programs for older adults & LifeBio is on the list

LifeBio is pleased to be included in the International Council on Active Aging's (ICAA) list of successful programs for older adults. To see the complete list, click here....

Best wellness programs for older adults

If you are seeking activities for seniors, please call LifeBio at 1-866-543-3246 or email