Thursday, December 23, 2010

Uncovering family history and the lessons from the past

Watch this incredible story from about a woman who discovered her fathers' letters and realized what he and his family had endured during World War II. Touched by both the war in Europe and Asia too....amazing story.  Let this inspire you to pursue your own family history and the stories behind the people you love--while you have the chance.

Monday, December 20, 2010

How much we need our parents

I count myself very blessed to have my mother, father, mother-in-law, and father-in-law still with me. I am very conscious that they will not be with me forever. I suppose this fact of life and death may come to me more often than it does for most people--because I am trying to preserve thousands of people's life stories. Still, it hits me hard and I am often reminded that I'd like to do even more to capture the essence of these incredible people. I want my great-great grandchildren to somehow know their great-great-great grandparents. They are really worth knowing. I have recorded them, I have asked them to fill out our Memory Journal (and some of them have at least started filling out the book), and I take every opportunity to photograph them with me, with my children, with any of their grandchildren, and with my dog. I look into their eyes and I see so much love for me and my family. I enjoy their quirks, their remarks, and that way they think. I feel like I am learning things from them all the time. I want to remember my parents as much as possible for all time. Does anyone else feel the same way that I do?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Life Stories in Senior Living

Life stories are a vital part of knowing every resident and delivering the very best service and care. In fact, it is also a useful approach for home health, non-medical home care, hospice, and adult day programs. Community settings like CCRCs, active aging communities, or other types of senior living are the ideal place for capturing life stories. Here are a few ideas. We like the fact that people can work together and prime the pump of their memories in group classes. Also, in community settings, there are usually volunteers (adult or youth) who would like to get to know someone and they just need an easy approach to get the conversations started. One-on-one visits are also a great time for capturing life stories in senior living or skilled nursing facilities or other long term care settings. Finally, family members or other loved ones are sometimes at a loss for words or ideas for what to talk about, but, when Story Cards are provided by the community, the visits become longer and better for everyone. The whole process opens the door for new connection, new experiences, and more love. To know is to love--and that's the greatest gift of capturing life stories. Older people have so much to teach and share--let's not miss this opportunity.
Want more information on how to get started? or call 937-303-4576

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Life Story Journal

The Life Story Journal contains 72 essential questions for writing your own life story or writing the life story of a loved one. Writing an autobiography is made easy with the Life Story Journal's "warm up" questions followed by questions on people, historical events, childhood memories, favorites, adulthood, beliefs, and life lessons. This journal is made for people of all ages and all backgrounds. It's also a great starting point for people who may want to publish a more extensive biography later. It primes the pump and opens the door to "new" memories.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

What makes a good gift?

What makes a good gift? In my opinion, great gifts have these 4 things in common.....

1) Good gifts are personalized gifts. The thought comes from the heart.
2) They are needed. They help the person receiving it to solve a problem.
3) They are FUN and maybe we learn something or experience something new when this gift enters our lives.
4) They have a "ripple effect" and impact not just the gift receiver but the family, friends, and loved ones maybe for years to come.

---Beth Sanders,
Capture life stories....there's no time like the present and no better gift to the future

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Wellness Trend -- Reminiscence

I'm at the ICAA Conference in San Diego today (speaking in about 2 hours). I'm going to talk about how wellness impacts ALL dimensions of wellness. With wellness directors especially looking for ways to address emotional and spiritual wellness in wellness programming, it is key to know that capturing life stories and bringing people together in GROUPS to share memories and experiences is a very powerful idea. With the shift from the medical model of caregiving to a wellness model, it is critical to deeply KNOW people in order to deliver the best possible service and care as people age.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Ethical wills are growing in popularity judging by the news

Ethical wills have been in the news lately. Recent news stories in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Fort Myers News Press, and the Naples Daily News describe the importance of an ethical will and different ways of accomplishing the goal of writing down values and beliefs....the treasures of the heart NOT just monetary treasures.

The Ethical Will Kit from LifeBio provides excellent sentence starters to help people with writing an ethical will without too much time or trouble. Obviously, you've got to think about what matters most to you, but the ethical will kit's template approach (similar to LifeBio's autobiography template) makes it easier by walking people through appropriate topics to write about (without having to read a lengthy book or taking a class or something).

There is no one else like YOU and your values and beliefs matter. Writing an ethical will has the power to open doors of new conversation with your family and friends. I would recommend that your ethical will be shared with your loved ones while you are living so people can ask questions and inquire about different things that happened in your past that shaped your opinions, values, and beliefs. Life is a good teacher and you've learned a thing or two along the way. We're all getting older and wiser. But regardless of age, there is peace in knowing that you've passed along the essence of who you are to your children and grandchildren. Every day is a gift so there's no sense in waiting to create an ethical will.

How to write an ethical will