Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas memories worth capturing

It was 1977 in Erie, Pennsylvania. I was eight years old, and I was looking forward to many things that Christmas.

Every morning my sister, brother, and I would bound down the green-shag carpeted stairs to untie a Tootsie Roll from each of our Countdown to Christmas charts. There was always the temptation to eat tomorrow’s piece of candy too, but we somehow resisted. My littlest brother had just been born that September so he wasn’t counting down with candy yet.

That Christmas there was SO much snow. Drifts as high as the top of our garage door! Piles and piles of plowed snow along Loveland Ave! Perfect conditions for snow forts, snowball fights, snow tunnels, and snow men. Dad had a snowmobile back then, and he would take us out to the “dirt hill” as we named it (an undeveloped piece of land between our street and the trailer park), and he would take us for a ride up and down the hills and even wipe out on purpose on occasion! The dirt hill had great sled riding too, and it was all about how FAR you could go on your sled—typically sledding head first, belly down was the very best position. If the neighborhood boys had given out trophies, I think I would have made at least the top 3.

Regarding my Christmas wish list, I had taken great care to circle my favorite things in the Sears catalog, the JC Penneys catalog, and I had written down a few extras from commercials on our four TV channels—Barbie stuff, LiteBrites, and the game of Operation were all the rage!

To be honest, I knew that many of the items in the catalogs I probably wouldn’t get, but it was still fun to dream about what I wished I could have anyway. Dad worked two and sometimes three jobs, but it was still hard to keep up with all the expenses our growing family had. I knew I’d get a new homemade nightgown from Grandma and a new handknitted pair of slippers from Aunt Pearl, but, other than that, Christmas morning would be a complete surprise.

The countdown to Christmas continued and soon it was the night before Christmas. We rolled out the sour cream cutout cookies, decorated them with icing and sprinkles, and sampled a few reindeers with broken legs. Mom made her delicious homemade bread too. We headed to Asbury Church that night and sang in the Junior Choir in our red robes, surrounded by poinsettias and candles. It was beautiful! Then it was home to bed and lights out so Santa had time to visit our house on Loveland Ave. I always wanted him to land his team of deer on our front porch, but he never did. He must have always used the roof.

Christmas morning 1977 finally came. Under the tree, each child had a gift marked Open Me First. My sister and brother had BIG gifts with that label on them. Mine was very small and I was so disappointed. I tried to hide it, but mom knew what I was thinking. She said with a big smile, “Beth, sometimes big things come in small packages!” Well, I knew it wasn’t a Lite Brite….so I wondered what kind of Christmas this was going to be. Getting ready to pout, I ripped off the paper and saw a yellow Kodak box. My eyes lit up as I got my first camera for Christmas! What an incredible gift for me. Even at age eight, I cared about capturing memories. I wrote things in journals. I made my own pinhole camera from the National Geographic magazine. I cherished my picture album, and now I had my own, easy-to-use camera! What a great gift it was! Luckily for my baby brother, I was immediately a shutterbug. Without that camera, there would have been very few pictures of that cute, red-headed baby boy.

Mom was right. Sometimes big things do come in small packages. Oh…so many fond memories from Loveland Avenue. I’m glad I had that camera to capture them.

Copyright 2011 LifeBio, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


What is your favorite memory of Christmas?
What was the best gift you ever received and why?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Speech by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his Address to the Nation

"Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives:
Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan...."
Read More....

Pearl Harbor attack remembered 70 years later

Monday, November 21, 2011

Wakeup Startup at The Ohio State University

Here's a few shots from the presentation at Wakeup Startup #wakeupstartup at The Ohio State University -- a great opportunity to explain LifeBio to a group of potential investors. There was great energy in the room!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/13517475@N00/6292011867/in/set-72157627880763139/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/13517475@N00/6292530114/in/set-72157627880763139/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/13517475@N00/6292536362/

Sign up for the next Wakeup Startup by visiting this link....
http://wakeupstartup.eventbrite.com/

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dear Dad...and to veterans in my family and to veterans everywhere

Dad in Vietnam
I just got back from a Veterans Day event in Marysville, Ohio--the 7th graders did a wonderful job honoring our veterans. This is a day to celebrate and to remember. As I sit here in comfort and security, I am so thankful for all #veterans who have made my freedom, my country, and this good life possible.  Let's start with my great-great-great-great-great (and more) grandfather, Abraham Mosier who enlisted in 1775 in the Revolutionary War.  Thank you Grandpa Mosier for believing in America!  There was also Lewis Reahard, the brother of my great-great- grandmother, who fought for the Union and was wounded at the Battle of Stony River, Tennessee.  Moving into the 20th Century, I want to thank Great Uncle Kenneth for his service in the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II---I should have asked you more questions while I had the chance.  Dad--I appreciate the war stories you have shared with me (and that I recorded) about the Vietnam War and the truck you destroyed running over a landmine. I'm just grateful that you came home or I wouldn't be here today. I'd like to see Pleiku and Da Nang someday. Uncle Lynn, Uncle David, Uncle Ron, and my father-in-law Curt (who served during the Cuban Missile Crisis in the Strategic Air Command), are to be commended too.  To my brother-in-law, Scott, thank you for your service in Iraq in the U.S. Army.  This family has served their country well, and we are all indebted to you for our freedom today.  Well done brave soldiers through the years.

One more note....at the event on a day like 11.11.11 -- I suppose I was thinking about time's passage and I was surprised to learn that, out of 100 veterans at the school this morning, only TWO were World War II veterans.  Just a reminder that every day is a precious gift with our older veterans.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A veteran's story I will always remember

93-year-old Wilson Califax of Fort Worth, Texas. A U.S. Army Chaplain and liberator of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. Listen as he shares his true and powerful story with me...and remember.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58WA4Tg250s

Monday, October 03, 2011

Best holiday gifts 2012 for grandma and grandpa

Are you always struggling for the right gift for a grandparent? Is it tough to find that perfect gift for grandma? Is your grandpa hard to shop for?  Here are three ideas to get you started while also capturing the priceless gift of life stories:

1) Memory Gift Box http://secure.lifebio.com/p/31/memory-gift-box

2) LifeBio.com Membership - for that tech savvy grandparent!
http://secure.lifebio.com/p/5/autobiography-template

3) Memory Journal Book -
http://secure.lifebio.com/p/7/memory-journals

Use LifeBio coupon code - 10discount  from now through the holidays and save 10%!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Financial Advisor Client Gifts for under $20

Because you care about helping people create a financial legacy, you can also help them with a family legacy too.  Capturing life stories is a need that many older people have, and as a financial planner you can provide a client gift that keeps on giving.  Here are a few great holiday gift ideas to capture a legacy:

1) Memory Journal ($19.95) This hardcover 6 x 9 book contains 250 biography questions to walk anyone through creating a lasting legacy of stories and memories.

2) Life Story Journal ($17.95) This softcover, spiral-bound 8.5 x 11 booklet contains 72 biography questions in large print. A shorter approach but with great questions that will evoke many experiences of life.

Both options above are available with group discounts if more than 10 copies are purchased. Also, LifeBio does provide packaging and shipping services if you'd like to send copies to all of your clients. Just provide us with mailing information. If you'd like to request a quote, call 937-303-4576 or email us at info@lifebio.com.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11 memories from an everyday mom from Ohio

I was on my way to work in Hilliard, Ohio when I heard about the plane hitting the north tower. The TV was on as I arrived to work and we all watched in horror as the second plane hit the south tower.  We wondered if there was any way to rescue people off the roof by helicopter, but soon it became apparent that this was a situation where rescue may be impossible.  People were waving from the windows; people were jumping from the windows. We could see the flames licking at the back of people's necks as they had to make the terrible decision to burn or to jump.
I remember questioning everything. Nothing mattered the same anymore -- just this one event had a profound impact on the people in New York, Washington, and in a field in Pennsylvania that day. This one day changed a nation. This one day changed my life forever (even far from where the attacks occurred).  Here were thousands of moms, dads, sisters, brothers, grandmothers, and grandfathers faced with death, saying goodbye on their cell phones, and fighting for their lives. It made me appreciate every moment of life at a level of intensity I had not experienced before Sept. 11, 2001.

That day, standing at work, I felt there was no reason to be at work. I got in my car and drove home in a daze, continuing to listen to the news on the radio. As the mother of a 2 year old and 5 year old at the time (one at the babysitter and one in Kindergarten), this day made me question everything.  Why was I at work? What really mattered in life?  It certainly made me think that having the priceless chance to hold my husband and my children that day was precious.  I felt so much for all those families ripped apart by these events. 

A few weeks later in October 2001, I had a trip planned to see a client, MetLife, in New York City. I was a little hesitant at first as I thought about flying into LaGuardia Airport, but soon I decided that the terrorists had won if I was afraid to go to New York City.  So with great pride for my country and a sense of defiant joy, I arrived in New York City. The city was still in quiet mourning and dust was still settled in closed shop windows--one that most sticks in my memory is passing a closed shoe store just two or three blocks from Ground Zero. All those empty shoes blanketed in dust. It was overwhelming seeing the pictures, and flowers, and notes on the fences around Ground Zero.  Security was tight everywhere we went.  The airports were swarming with Army soldiers.  I went home to Ohio with a heavy heart, but certainly ready to see my family again.

What has changed in 10 years?  I'd like to think that this wounded nation somehow became stronger. Perhaps families are somehow closer. Maybe people don't value "stuff" as much as they once did, and that relationships and experiences with family and friends are more important today as a result of the aftermath of September 11, 2001.  I believe we value our military, our police, and our firefighters even more than we did prior to that day, and what an asset they are to our country. The memories of those people who died on September 11, 2001 are honored by serving and loving one another. Many of us will shed a few tears today, and I know I will today and in the years to come. I don't know if we'll ever get over it, and I don't know if we ever should.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

True Colors lyrics -- beautiful song. There's no one else like YOU.

True Colors
By Cyndi Lauper


You with the sad eyes
don't be discouraged
oh I realize
it's hard to take courage
in a world full of people
you can lose sight of it all
and the darkness inside you
can make you fell so small

But I see your true colors
shining through
I see your true colors
and that's why I love you
so don't be afraid to let them show
your true colors
true colors are beautiful
like a rainbow

Show me a smile then
don't be unhappy, can't remember
when I last saw you laughing
if this world makes you crazy
and you've taken all you can bear
you call me up
because you know I'll be there

And I'll see your true colors
shining through
I see your true colors
and that's why I love you
so don't be afraid to let them show
your true colors
true colors are beautiful
like a rainbow

Monday, August 29, 2011

How to capture the life stories of veterans

For a Veterans Day activity or to honor the special veterans in your life, consider helping men and women document their life stories. There is no more priceless gift than to preserve the uniqueness of a person's life experiences. Time is of the essence especially for the WWII generation, with many people in their late 80s or early 90s, who have many remarkable stories to share from the historic 20th Century. Also, many Korean War veterans and Vietnam War veterans would also appreciate the opportunity to capture at least some portions of their military service (some things can be left unspoken and unwritten).  Some people are concerned that veterans many not want to discuss their military service, but many DO want to talk about it and wish that their loved ones would ask the questions OR they may want to document it on their own. In some cases, the veteran's goal may to ensure people never forget the good, the bad, and the ugly of war.

To make it a simpler process than it has been in the past, LifeBio has created The Veterans Story Book that provides 40 appropriate biography questions plus extra space for adding in more memories, photos, or other memorabilia. It also contains instructions for how to send a copy to the Veterans History Project in Washington to have it archived at the Library of Congress.

For more information or to order Veterans Story Books in bulk, please call 866-543-3246 or 937-303-4578. You can also email us at info@lifebio.com

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pat Summitt - work continues with support

I applaud Pat Summitt for her decision to disclose that she has early-onset Alzheimer's disease.  She will continue to work as a basketball coach.
http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/08/24/early.dementia.work/

One of the key things that can be done with early-onset dementia is the documentation of one's life. This can be extremely useful to caregivers in the future, and it can remind people of the many accomplishments in their lives. Pat has so many.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

LifeBio Iphone App

We're working on our mobile application. Probably by later in the fall or early 2011 this will be ready to go. All we can say is that it will be cool, and it will match the coolness of LifeBio's new features launching soon!  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

LifeBio's 7 Tips for Intergenerational Programming


1.       Keep the experience short and simple (at least at first). Youth today are very busy in after-school activities so they won’t have a lot of extra time on their hands. However, once they try something simple in an intergenerational program, some will get “hooked” and become your most reliable volunteers in the long run (and maybe future employees too!). Try different things to see what works best for you.

2.       Make interaction really meaningful for everyone. Ensure youth have the opportunity to be eye-to-eye, face-to-face with their older partners. Calling BINGO or Christmas caroling or doing a craft is certainly okay, but many youth will LOVE the chance to really get to know elders in a deeper way – if you can help them get started. Older adults will enjoy the chance to talk about history, lessons learned in life, their families, and what it was like when they were little. Bridging the generations together is the key to success. It’s important to help them break down walls and start communicating deeply…preventing just talk about the weather, health, food, etc. Also, make sure to include people with memory loss in your intergenerational programming.

3.       See everyone as a volunteer. Older adults are volunteering to share their lives with a younger person. Youth are volunteering to share their lives with an older person. Everyone is giving. Everyone is gaining!  Older adults will be more apt to participate if they realize how much they are helping the younger people.  Young people who have grown up with text messaging and electronic gadgets, desperately need to learn how to have an eye-to-eye conversation.  Youth need to learn empathy and to walk in an older adults’ shoes.


4.       Use technology if possible. Young people enjoy technology. Kids today may be able to bring their laptops or tablets with them to work with older adults OR pair up youth and seniors on your PCs. Give them something meaningful and safe to do online together (ex. creating the older adult’s biography at LifeBio.com is one idea).
 

5.       Involve the parents of youth too.  When a group of 8th graders in the Chicago area finishes a few weeks of interviewing residents at a retirement community and creating their biographies, the students and their parents are invited to a reception for the Life Celebration.  The parents see how much their children have gained from the experience and it increases the parents’ support of the idea.   



6.       Involve the families of older adults too. Make sure families have the chance to be part of intergenerational programming. Children and great-grandchildren could be invited to participate. Sometimes they get stuck in a rut as they visit and need something new and different to do with their loved one. Don’t hesitate to invite them to a cooking class, or a Bible study, or a trivia session, or a “Tell Your Story” activity on the calendar. Ask families if they would like to make a Storyboard about their loved one—this could be a project for the whole family to do together.



7.        Keep the momentum going and make it fun!  Ideas: Set a realistic and measurable goal to do one intergenerational activity every month.  Set a goal to recruit three new youth volunteers. Find a school that will commit to visiting with older adults for 4-8 weeks (even if you need to take the elders to them—use your transportation if possible). Find church youth groups or other groups that are willing to come once a month. When they arrive, have a FUN and easy idea planned that will keep them coming back for more.

Call or email us at 1-866-543-3246 or 937-303-4574 or
info@lifebio.com.

St. Anne Home implements LifeBio technology

New technology at St. Anne Home will soon allow residents to write their own life stories.
Justin Meyer said the facility is utilizing resources offered by LifeBio.com. The resources help people write their life’s stories by organizing their lives into chapters, ultimately producing a personalized keepsake book.

"It’s amazing the amount of history here, the work history, their family history," Meyer said. "This program asks about 250 questions to evoke memories — then arranges the information into chapters, and with a click of a button creates a book of their life!"

Meyer said he is recruiting volunteers to help residents gather information about their histories, philosophies and emotions that will be used to create their books.

He said they can answer as few or as many questions as they choose.

"It’s a great way to reminisce and to leave their stories with their families," he said.

Read the article in its entirety...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Health benefits of journaling

Writing can have a big impact on physical symptoms from arthritis to asthma to PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and depression.

http://www.odemagazine.com/doc/73/upside-of-writing/

To journal your autobiographical memories, try the Memory Journal or the shorter Life Story Journal.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Rethinking Reminiscence: we all lose when memories are lost or forgotten

As we work with health care organizations, retirement living, hospitals, adult day centers, senior centers, home care agencies, and libraries, it has become abundantly clear why it is, indeed, the right time to be capturing life stories more.

1) Do it for people's health: Reminiscence has been found to lower depression, lower physical pain, and increase feelings of happiness and satisfaction. Even when life hasn't been perfect (no one's life is), there is a chance to recall, reflect, and, hopefully, see the events with a different perspective.

2) Do it to capture memories: With the number of new Alzheimer's cases growing to over 450,000 a year, this is both an urgent and important exercise. By creating a biography, an individual has a better chance of being deeply known by family members and other caregivers now and in the future.

3) Do it for children and grandchildren. Most people don't know much about their great-grandparents. Maybe genealogy records but not much else. There is no one else like YOU. You have the time and the opportunity to create a lasting record for the next generation. Share the story of who you are and who our parents and grandparents were too. Tell your veterans story, your love story, your crazy vacation story. You've witness so many things in the 20th and 21st Centuries. Answer biography questions so your family can walk in your shoes and really know you.

4) Do it for YOU. When you look back, the future can sometimes come into clearer view too.  You'll remember what led you into a particular career, what the moment was like when you met your future spouse, how you got interested in a particular hobby. Sometimes things long forgotten come back to the surface and they are re-ignited in your life.  Clarity may come from reflection on who you are and where you've come from through the years.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Elderhood Rising: The Dawn of a New World Age

Dr. Bill Thomas brillantly talks about ageism, the dominance of adulthood in our society, and why aging is going to save us." Aging is going to work a piece of magic on our society.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Heading to Minnesota for a celebration of veterans' stories prior to Memorial Day

GracePointe Crossing 'Celebrating America with Veterans' Stories
Date: May 18, 2011
Event DescriptionCelebrating America with Veterans' Stories

Who: Veterans and their Families

What: A presentation on the importance of your story and your place in history

Where: GracePointe Crossing Heritage Center
322 RiverHills Place N
Cambridge, MN

When: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.

American Legion Color Guard will present the colors. Isanti County Veterans Service Office, Jim Rostberg, will share his veteran story. LifeBio founder, Beth Sanders, will present ways to record your stories. Please join us as we honor America's veterans!

To RSVP, please call 763-691-6166

Questions? Please call Julie at 763-552-4103

Celebrate with Us!
 
See the Flyer
http://cloud.chambermaster.com/userfiles/UserFiles/chambers/5/File/Cambridge%20Chamber/2011%20GP%20Veterans%20Flyer.pdf

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Adult day program ideas for retirement communities

Independent living residents are moving into communities for a variety of reasons, but one reason is because one or both of them is/are experiencing mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's Disease. I hope to see more communities implement even a few hours of adult day programming so that the couple can live independently together in the evening, but the caregiver can have a few hours of relief everyday while his or her spouse goes to an adult day program or at least participates in activities that are geared for someone with mild cognitive impairment or early stage dementia. I think retirement communities will be able to attract younger couples facing this challenge and they will keep people independent longer (and avoid caregiver burnout) if they can succeed in providing social adult day activities for someone with at least mild forms of dementia.

With difficulties in filling open apartments or assisted living wings, this specialized focus on caregivers and a person with dementia could meet a genuine need -- and address the elephant in the room head on with compassion and with the real support people are wanting.

LifeBio's memory care curriculum, MemoryBio, and our Life Story Journal are both excellent tools to use in a social adult day program. Also, our Storyboards and Story Cards could also be great ways to work the brain and help someone with memory loss to quickly capture life stories and memories.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reasons to write an autobiography

YOU are unique. Every life is a collection of the many people, places and adventures experienced.

Only you can preserve priceless memories. No one else can share your autobiography but YOU. You grew up on a street somewhere. You had a favorite tree or hiding place perhaps. You can remember your parents, your grandparents, a special aunt or uncle. How did you celebrate holidays when you were a child or teenager? What was school like when you were young? Recall some of those priceless memories for yourself and for the people you love. You’ve got some good stories to tell and some of the simplest memories mean a lot.

Only you can share a lifetime of practical wisdom. Life is a good teacher, isn’t it? Every day of life has joys and challenges. We learn and grow along the way. Life isn’t always easy, but we all keep learning things as we go down that road. Other people have much to learn from your life story—good advice, beliefs, values. We’re all getting older (and hopefully wiser) every day. You can help your loved ones, family, and friends prepare for the future with your perspective on life so far.

Only you can provide your own personal glimpse into history. There is nothing better than learning history from an actual personal account instead of a history book. Do you remember a big event in the news, a new invention that revolutionized the world, a new household item that made life easier, a famous person who changed the course of history? It is fascinating to hear what YOU think is interesting from history. It’s amazing to have a chance to walk in your shoes and see the world from your unique perspective.

Only you can create a lasting record for generations to come. If things aren’t recorded, unfortunately they will be lost or forgotten. Some of you may wish you had a book with the life story of your grandparents or great-great grandparents to read. Maybe you’ve got some family genealogy records but who were these people? What made them tick? What was their essence? What was their story? Writing down some portions of your life story in a journal or recording your story via the web or via video will prevent those stories from being lost or forgotten. This process may also open the door for you to share your story with a younger person in your family (maybe one of your children, grandchildren, a niece or nephew perhaps).
As life stories form a bridge between people of all ages. Watch as you and your loved ones experience more genuine connection and new conversations as life stories are shared. You may think that some of the things you have to share aren’t all that important or relevant. However, you may be surprised at how much other people will really appreciate this new information. Capture life’s experiences without delay and watch the stories and the love flow.

So what should you ask yourself? LifeBio has GREAT questions in our online autobiography template to help you get started.

Generation Alzheimer's sheds light on a crisis, motivates us to act

  • This year, the first wave of baby boomers are turning 65 – and with increased age comes increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.


  • Our new report, "Generation Alzheimer's: The Defining Disease of the Baby Boomers," sheds light on a crisis that is no longer emerging – but here.

  • Many baby boomers will spend their retirement years either with Alzheimer's or caring for someone who has it.

  • An estimated 10 million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer's.

  • Starting this year, more than 10,000 baby boomers a day will turn 65. As these baby boomers age, one of out of eight of them will develop Alzheimer’s – a devastating, costly, heartbreaking disease. Increasingly for these baby boomers, it will no longer be their grandparents and parents who have Alzheimer’s – it will be them.

  • "Alzheimer’s is a tragic epidemic that has no survivors. Not a single one," said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association. "It is as much a thief as a killer. Alzheimer’s will darken the long-awaited retirement years of the one out of eight baby boomers who will develop it. Those who will care for these loved ones will witness, day by day, the progressive and relentless realities of this fatal disease. But we can still change that if we act now."

  • According to the new Alzheimer’s Association report, it is expected that 10 million baby boomers will either die with or from Alzheimer’s, the only cause of death among the top 10 in America without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression. But, while Alzheimer’s kills, it does so only after taking everything away, slowly stripping an individual’s autonomy and independence. Even beyond the cruel impact Alzheimer’s has on the individuals with the disease, Generation Alzheimer’s also details the negative cascading effects the disease places on millions of caregivers. Caregivers and families go through the agony of losing a loved one twice: first to the ravaging effects of the disease and then, ultimately, to actual death.


  • http://alz-news.org/

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    StandUp Gardens are cool. Flower power.

    On occasion, I see a product that is over-the-top wonderful. That would be the StandUp Gardens that are made for a variety of community settings or at home. With spring upon us, this is a good time to start thinking about planting. 

    http://www.standupgardens.com/babylon1.htm

    There are so many opportunities for older adults and youth to work together to plant a garden with StandUp Gardens.  I met Peter Amarosa at a recent trade show and I think he's created something good here. I just like to pass along ideas that are too good to not know about.

    http://www.standupgardens.com/

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    I'm tired of the word "facility" used to describe a community.

    I hope that the institutional language will finally disappear. I hope I never live in any place called a "facility".  I know people hate the term nursing home too, but "facility" makes me think of prison. Maybe this is why.  Listen as Gary Mohr, Ohio Department of Corrections Director, describes prisons as "facilities" many times during this interview....

    http://www.ohiochannel.org/MediaLibrary/Media.aspx?fileId=129850&returnTo=Collection

    Thursday, April 07, 2011

    Great gift ideas for Mother's Day 2011

    If your mother or grandmother or sister or favorite aunt is hard to shop for, consider the gift of memories. Consider a Memory Gift Box or Life Story Journal or a Memory Journal from LifeBio. There are many options available from LifeBio for writing your life story or helping someone else create a biography. One more thought...if you have a loved one caring for someone with dementia, a great gift to use with an Alzheimer's patient or person with dementia would be the MemoryBio Photo Album and Journal. This works well to generate great discussions using pictures.

    See all products available from LifeBio....
    https://secure.lifebio.com/Default.aspx

    She Calls Me Raymond -- very touching song that shouldn't be missed

    LOVING THIS SONG...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txCUwSKo1kg

    I work down at Ashberry Hills

    Minimum wage, but it pays the bills
    Cleaning floors and leading hymns on Sunday
    Katherine Davis, room 303
    Sweetest soul you ever could meet
    I bring her morning coffee everyday

    Chorus:
    She calls me Raymond
    She thinks I'm her son
    Tells me get washed up for supper
    before your daddy gets home
    She goes on about the weather
    how she can't believe it's already 1943
    She calls me Raymond, and that's all right by me

    She talks about clothes on the line in the summer air
    Christmas morning and Thanksgiving prayer
    Stories of a family that I never had
    Sometimes I find myself wishing I'd been there

    Chorus:
    When she calls me Raymond
    She thinks I'm her son
    Tells me get washed up for supper
    before your daddy gets home
    She goes on about the weather
    how she can't believe it's already 1943
    She calls me Raymond, and that's all right by me

    There's a small white cross in Arlington
    Reads Raymond Davis '71
    Until she can see his face again
    I'm gonna fill in the best I can

    Chorus:
    When she calls me Raymond
    She thinks I'm her son
    Tells me get washed up for supper
    before your daddy gets home
    She goes on about the weather
    how she can't believe it's already 1943
    She calls me Raymond, and that's all right by me
    She calls me Raymond, and that's all right by me

    Monday, April 04, 2011

    Ice cream memories. Everybody has one.

    What's your favorite memory of ice cream? Mine is going to Creamland on Route 20 between Erie, PA and Fairview, PA for ice cream, especially after a long hot day baling hay at the farm. We would be riding home in the back of the Ford pickup truck, and there was no better treat than a big soft serve chocolate ice cream cone. Really, I worked all day for that sweet reward. It was worth it.

    Creamland opened on April 1st for the season and my parents said they stopped for a delicious treat that day.

    Thursday, March 31, 2011

    Quick and easy ways to capture life stories

    It doesn't have to be a major production or take a huge time commitment to help someone create a biography or a simple display about their life story and experiences.  It doesn't have to be expensive either.

    I like to suggest that family members create a "Storyboard" while working side-by-side with their older loved one that describes a least a few key phases of life...showing pictures of them at different ages through the years. It is really eye-opening for younger family members to actually realize that grandma was once a little girl! Just some basic biography questions asked can provide wonderful material to put on a board like this along with just 4-5 pictures.

    Another idea that takes more time but results in a lot more information is completing a Life Story Journal or another type of question/answer memory book. This is excellent for priming the pump of people's memories and helping them write an autobiography without delay. It doesn't have to have 400 questions for it to be effective--the key is asking the RIGHT kinds of questions to bring out what family members would truly want to read, for all time, about this amazing person.

    Using technology is a great way to involve the young people in the family in a biography project. For example, online templates such as LifeBio.com provide the questions on the web so the younger members of a family could collaborate to gather the stories of parents or grandaprents. Use a smartphone, a tablet, or a PC to write life stories and to share the biography with everyone. Just access even 20 questions and answer one everyday and watch the autobiography unfold.  What a great way to involve the tech-savvy grandchildren....it will really help forge a more meaningful relationship between young and old.

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011

    Working on a 94-year-old's biography tonight.

    Such a beautiful tale of joys and challenges, ups and downs, and faith and hope through the years. I feel like every story becomes part of me in a wonderful way and I keep learning so much. My 42-year-old mind gains immensely from the experiences and lessons of people twice my age. Tap into your own loved one's stories...listen and learn.

    Saturday, March 26, 2011

    Stories matter.

    For thousands of years, we've shared our traditions, beliefs, and values through storytelling. The stories were told around the bonfire, the campfire, and the kitchen table. With our fast paced society, how will be sure that stories are preserved? We teach each other through stories. Don't let them be lost or forgotten in your own family.

    http://www.lifebio.com/

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    We are all storytellers

    Truth is stranger than fiction. We gain amazing life experiences through the years. Our children and grandchildren learn through story. Don't hesitate to teach them through your true life stories.

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    Unique birthday gifts for seniors

    If you're really trying to find that priceless, perfect gift for the person who has everything, we now have a new offer at LifeBio that might fit the bill.

    We've bundled together a LifeBio.com membership (our online autobiography template with 250 questions), a Memory Journal (with the same LifeBio questions in a 6 x 9 book form), AND the LifeBio Book gift certificate. The LifeBio Book gift certificate with entitle the recipient to order one copy of their hardcover, leather-bound edition of their life story after they have answered questions online at LifeBio.com. So the entire process is paid for -- from start to finish.

    Give the gift of memoirs today.
    https://secure.lifebio.com/LifeBio_Membership__Memory_Journal__and_LifeBio_Book-details.aspx

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Wednesday, March 09, 2011

    Storytelling is making a comeback

    Parents and grandparents are sometimes surprised at how much their children and grandchildren want to know when they start sharing their true life stories.

    "Tell me a story. Tell me about YOU." is music to a parent's or grandparent's ears. I suggest closing the Dr. Seuss book or take time on a long car ride to tell them one of your own tall tales or "everyday life" stories. They say truth is stranger than fiction. Tap into your own great life stories (you know you've got 'em) and start sharing them.

    Make sure you think about ALL your senses as you recall a story to share with your family (it's easy when you can reference your autobiography for some great material). Take them to your backyard when you were a kid...describe your best friend (could be a real character!), your favorite game, and what your neighborhood was really like. Describe your first bicycle, the picnic that blew away, the lilac bush you hid in, and the time you fell out of the tree. Be sure to throw in your joys and challenges to keep it exciting.

    Relate the story to their lives. You and your children or grandchildren actually have a LOT in common! Of course, you were once their age and had similar feelings and experiences. This will be an eye-opener and shocker to them!
    For those with kids who love text messaging and technology in general, text them a personal memory once in a while, connect via cell phone and share something deeper than the day's weather or what's for dinner. Don't be too surprised when you begin sharing your life in a more meaningful way and they LIKE it. You can even involve them in building your LifeBio online. They can easily be on the web WITH you, asking questions and typing in your answers--even if they live far away.

    Start your LifeBio now. Access online questions.



    What's right for you?



    1. Are you a web person?

    Access over 250+ autobiography questions online at LifeBio. It's easy and fun. Just answer 1-2 questions everyday!

    -----------------------------------------

    2. Are you a book person? Would you rather carry a Memory Journal along or keep it on the kitchen table? Just open the book, pick a thought-provoking question, and write down your answer. Skip around to make it fun!

    ----------------------------------------

    3. Are you a phone interview person?

    Do you want your own or a loved one's voice captured? LifeBio's Phone Interview service may be right for you. This full service option can be the perfect thing for busy people who seek someone to help create a digital audio recording.

    ----------------------------------------

    4. Are you a group person?

    Whether you'd rather write or type your memories, it's fun to reminisce with friends and family. Start a weekly LifeBio group in your local area or you can even lead a LifeBio 101 class! There are 35 topics to bring together your stories so you'll have plenty of things to talk about!

    Baby Books and Grandparents

    I pulled out the baby books to see some of the adorable things I chose to record when my kids were very small. (Stay with me...In a minute, I'll tell you the connection between baby books and recording life stories.)


    June 14, 1998 – I changed a light bulb and 2-year-old Melissa came over, with a hand on her hip, looked up and said, ‘What in the world is going on?!”

    May 5, 2001 – David, at 17 months, was in the crib and when he woke up he said, “Du, Du, Du, Goo” (Duck, Duck, Duck, Goose). How adorable. He’s cute even when he cries.

    March 6, 2002 – David, Melissa, and mommy are playing spaceship. David says he’s the captain named “Dude”. Melissa is “Cindy” the robot and they are calling me “Riffer” the dog.
    Baby books are very important because they help us remember our children’s actual words and thinking and innocence when they were so very small. I know it’s hard to keep up with it—especially if you have more than one child. I know you think you’ll remember the things they say, but without recording them on paper there is not a chance of recalling very much. Even when I tell myself, “You should remember this moment forever—it was so cute and so priceless.” I find that even one or two days later, I struggle to think of the details and recount their actual words or actions if it hasn’t been committed to ink on paper. So I want to encourage you to keep writing in that baby book….but I also want you to know that this is only the beginning.
    What else should you be writing down as a parent or grandparent? Here are 4 things you should always be thinking about and recording when you have a chance:

    1) Tell them about the people that matter. Someday, maybe not immediately, they will benefit from knowing as much as they can about your parents, grandparents, special aunts and uncles, and others who helped you become who you are. What are your memories of these special people? Are they alive and well and still able to tell their own life stories (not just genealogy information)? Younger generations can learn so much about our country’s history—from their own family’s perspective (not just their Social Studies book someday).
    2) Tell them about you as a little person. Your children will have the opportunity to walk in your shoes and to understand what it was like when you were a child. Our kids can see us as more than just mom or dad when we share stories from our youth. In fact, many of us will have experienced our children saying, “Tell me a story from when you were a little girl (or little boy).” Seize the opportunity to tell them some of your backyard adventures or crazy family vacations.
    3) Tell them about the “Real World” and some of the joys and challenges of growing up. Love, jobs and careers, raising children, and more are all part of the complexities of life. It is wonderful for kids to have a recording of how you felt the first time you held each child in your arms. Through it all, you can show that despite life being difficult at times, you’ve made it through and you’ve gained some wisdom along the way.

    4) Tell them what matters most. What are truly the most important things in life? This is your opportunity to record some of your own personal values or some of your family’s beliefs that you want to be sure are remembered for all time….take care of the earth, commit to lasting relationships, follow your faith, honor your elders, and more. Share your hopes and dreams for their future too—and even write to your future grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
    I know you don’t need one more thing to do, but creating a lasting legacy isn’t something you should discount or leave to chance. Delaying isn’t a good idea either—each day of life is truly a gift and we don’t have to be 80 or 90 to do this. Imagine those writings impacting not just your own children but generations to come. And just like those baby book memories with “Dude”, Cindy the robot, and Riffer the dog flying around on a spaceship in the family room, the recordings of people, memories, wisdom, and values have a chance to be remembered too.
    Have more questions? Need information? Want to start recording memories for grandchildren? Call 1-866-543-3246 or 937-303-4576 or Email us at info@lifebio.com

    www.lifebio.com

    Tuesday, March 08, 2011

    Creating a lasting legacy

    What do you consider important to pass along to your children and grandchildren? What will you want people to remember about you and the family members who came before you?

    You have beliefs, values, life lessons, exciting experiences, and everyday life that you can share. Not only can you share about your own life; you can pass along whatever you remember about your parents and grandparents (people your children/grandchildren will never really know). 

    But will you create a lasting legacy? How will you create a lasting legacy? Do you see it as valuable? Do you see it as priceless?

    Every day someone says to me, "I wish I had captured the life stories of  __________ (insert mother, father, grandmother, grandfather) before it was too late." OR "I wish my mother had recorded her memories for me." Why keep the next generation wondering and wishing? Why should these regrets happen? Why not just take even one hour to begin writing down your life. Or grab a tape recorder or turn on a video camera.

    Somehow, some way the story can and should be recorded--especially if you know that your children or grandchildren are begging for a lasting legacy. Especially if they really want to always cherish your stories and memories. It is truly a priceless gift and you are the only one who can give it. It's time to tell your story.

    Need help? http://www.lifebio.com/    1-866-LIFEBIO or 937-303-4576
    LifeBio offers an ethical will template and biography tools for people of all ages.

    Monday, March 07, 2011

    Last WWI U.S. veteran dies -- Frank Buckles -- the end of an era

    The last American doughboy has passed away, and this reminds me that there will also come a day when the last WWII veteran will pass away. With less than 2 million WWII veterans still alive today (of the 16 million who served), according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, now is the time to capture these veterans' life stories without delay. Some may and some may not want to share their military experiences and that's okay. It would still be important to get some of the basics of where and when they served if possible. But then the life story can go much further. It is fascinating to ask questions and record information about their parents, their hometown, the impact of the Depression and rationing on them and their family members, and even ask them about great inventions that have come along in their lifetimes. There is a lot of 20th Century history just waiting to be captured if we take this opportunity without procrastinating any further. Baby Boomers have a last chance to record the life stories of the Greatest Generation without delay. Carpe diem.  http://www.lifebio.com/

    Read more about Frank Buckles' life story.....

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/28/AR2011022806538.html

    The end of horse and buggy stories? Probably.

    I am lamenting the loss of stories about life before cars, tractors, and electricity. In Charlotte's biography and Marie's biography (both in their mid-90s), they share about life in wagons and sleighs...no school buses back then. They remember when fields were still plowed with horses. They tell of oil lamps before electricity. Time marches on and my fear is that these stories of life before cars, tractors, and electricity are dying away. My biggest fear is that families of people in their 90s haven't captured these amazing stories, from their own loved one's perspective, before it is too late. Save stories without delay--especially for family members or loved ones in their 80s and 90s. This could be your last chance to hear about this time in history. I promise you that these memories will be priceless to you someday.

    http://www.lifebio.com/   1-866-543-3246

    Thursday, March 03, 2011

    Reminiscence therapy and dementia: 3 reasons why it makes a difference

    1. The past is one of the best ways to connect. Long-term memories are, in many cases, very much intact. When someone has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease or related dementias, it is important to capture as many details of his or her life stories as possible, as quickly as possible. It may not seem like the details matter, but they do and they will. In fact, it will be critical to delivering the best possible service and care. Because retrogenesis is believed to occur, a person with dementia may be, essentially, traveling back in time and seeing himself or herself as 50 or 40 or 20 or 10 years old. If you can know more about his or her life at these different ages, it will make communication and understanding easier.
    2. Stimulate the hippocampus area of the brain. Recalling, sharing, writing, and reading memories does stimulate the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex regions of the brain. A non-pharmacological treatment for Alzheimer's Disease would be spending time daily or weekly reminiscing and challenging the brain.
    3. Preserve and celebrate a person's identity. Start early by asking the right questions that will be interesting and fun to answer but will also provide valuable personal background. Engage the family  to fill in the details and tell you more about the people who mattered in this person's life (including parents/grandparents), life experiences, and personal comforts (favorite foods, favorite perfume, favorite time of day, favorite places to visit, favorite books, favorite movies, favorite chair, etc.). Display pictures of this person at different stages of life from youth until today. This will give the person and the people around him or her something interesting to talk about and be something the person can identify with themselves.

    Enjoy each other's company and each other's memories. Try something and don't give up on your attempts to be in conversation--eye-to-eye, face-to-face, hand-to-hand. Many of us have seen the movie, "The Notebook". If we do know the person's life story, we can always tell the story and he or she can listen. If you are working with someone with early-stage dementia, the journey of life may still be an open book -- ready to be shared. Don't wait. These life stories should not be lost or forgotten. They could be critical to caregivers in providing the very best service and care. The more we know, the more we love.

    _______________________________

    Reminiscence therapy tools
    You may be looking for tools that could help in the writing of life stories for someone with dementia or memory loss. The Mayo Clinic is using the Life Story Journal with their early-stage Alzheimer's patients. Also, you may want to consider the MemoryBio Photo Album and Journal. Photos are a great way to bring back memories and MemoryBio contains 200 pictures with thought-provoking, simple questions. It's wonderful when you as the family caregiver or professional caregiver can have the honor to ask these questions and take the time to write down the amazing adventures of this person's life. You may find that it lowers depression, increases life satisfaction, and promotes happiness. You might also think about using Story Cards (interesting questions for all ages to reminisce) or a Storyboard (display a few key pictures and memories on the board). Some families have even created a book for a parent with Alzheimer's using LifeBio.com's autobiography template, and then they provided the book to professional caregivers. "If dad could answer this question, he would say...."

    Wednesday, March 02, 2011

    Life stories: 3 tips for writing life stories without delay

    Every life deserves a book. So how should we go about creating a life story and avoiding the dreaded blank sheet of paper?
    1) Realize you DO have something to say when you write your life story and that it DOES matter. Your memories of parents and grandparents alone is a story worth sharing. Every day of life experience has taught you something. Your children and grandchildren will appreciate anything you write or type for them whether it is a one-page letter or a 100-page book. Frankly, I think obituaries are way too little information, way too late.
    2) Don't start with a blank sheet of paper. There are numerous tools on the market that provide an online autobiography template. Also, life story journals or memory journals with prompting questions are also available at any Barnes & Noble or online. When questions are priming the pump of your memories, this gets a whole lot easier. Even if you want to create a more customized book someday, you may want to start with a template of autobiography questions to help you get your first draft done and to stay organized.
    3) Don't wait until you are 90 to get started. At age 34, I started my own life story and it was quite an eye opener. As I looked at my life story as a whole after a few weeks of answering autobiography questions, I was surprised to come to some new conclusions. It helped me see how one thing led to another, that led to another, that led to another. The whole chain of events was fascinating. I thought about my life in a "bigger picture" view that included my grandparents, my parents, myself, and my children. I even wrote a letter, as part of my story, to my future grandchildren. Also, it helped me think about, "What's next?" What will the next chapter of my life look like? So I see it as an excellent planning tool if you're in transition and asking yourself the question, "What's next?" You may find that, when you reflect, you remember how much you loved something when you were a kid. Looking back, could actually hold the secret to your future!

    Want more information, just visit http://www.lifebio.com/ and become a member. You can add pictures to your story as well. It creates an instant autobiography. LifeBio's journals make great gifts too!

    Rehab therapy and reminiscence therapy

    Catrina learns a lot about Mrs. G. through reminiscing and recording her life story. Communications skills improved, individuality recognized, empathy gained, and relationships built.

    Hear the words of a physical therapy student, Catrina, who just completed a reminiscence project with her partner, Mrs. G.

    Catrina’s Story


    I am a physical therapist student entering my third and final year (starting in June). I started working with Mrs. G through my school's Geriatrics Club last winter. I have always enjoyed spending time and working with older people…This experience has helped me appreciate the individuality of all people and life in general. It has helped me to work on my communication skills, which will be very important for my future. It's so important to me as a developing health professional to see each patient as an individual with his/her own life story, and this process has reinforced that value. I have laughed and cried with Mrs. G. throughout this experience. It has helped me to view her on multiple dimensions, and now we have such a great relationship. I am thankful for this program because it brought Mrs. G. and I together.

    Catrina used LifeBio's online system to record Mrs. G.'s memories. Organizations can purchase license agreements or individuals can learn more by visiting http://www.lifebio.com/ or call 1-866-543-3246.

    Sunday, February 27, 2011

    Person-centered care won't work unless.....

    health care workers truly know people and their life stories. The brief social history or even the new MDS 3.0 standards are okay, but these things are the bare minimum. The life story will need to be captured and it can happen in a variety of ways by learning more from the people themselves or by a process of involving their family members in the interview or by motivating staff to engage in a much more personal way. Also, too often family could and would tell health care workers more information, but health care workers aren't asking the family to provide this.  It's the details that count and there is a lot of information that can be gathered over time. What makes this person really tick? What are their personal comforts? What relationships were important to them? What really matters? What will help us truly connect?  I know its overwhelming with the level of detail needed on the health care and physical needs side of things.....but emotional and spiritual and social needs must come FIRST.

    Want help? We've implemented our approach in a variety of heatlh care and hospital settings across the U.S. and Canada so far. Call LifeBio at 1-866-543-3246 or info@lifebio.com

    Thursday, February 24, 2011

    Wise words about recollections

    Dr. Bill Thomas of the Eden Alternative writes... "Much is made, and rightly so, of the special circumstances in which elders experience a great forgetting. We commonly refer to this as “living with dementia.” Less attention is paid, however, to how and why elders remember. Elders’ recollections are different from ordinary forms of memory…
    http://changingaging.org/blog/2011/02/23/old-memories-young-hopes/

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    Adult Day Care Activities

    One of the most important aspects of adult day services is providing companionship and opportunities for conversation. For people with memory loss, it is also vital to be stimulating the hippocampus area of the brain where memories are stored. Journaling groups are very possible as part of the activity program in an adult day center--pose just one or two questions a day and encourage people to write their answers down themselves if possible. The long-term memories may still be very much intact. Activity directors in adult day care centers could also use pictures to prompt memories such as those offered in the MemoryBio curriculum available from LifeBio (samples are available by emailing info@lifebio.com ) .

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Sweet memories and conscious of them

    When I read to my son and the dog listened too, that is a sweet memory. When my daughter practiced the same little tune on the piano over and over again, that is a sweet memory. When my husband and I sat as close as we could at dinner so our knees were touching, that is a sweet memory. I am very interested in living in the moment and being conscious of the sweet moments that I am experiencing so I can hold onto them and remember as much as possible. I am building a beautiful archive of sweet memories that I can tap into anytime I wish.

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Orphaned at 60

    Annette Gonzalez describes how it feels after both of her parents passed away. "I write and speak about feeling like an 'orphan' at sixty years of age. Five months after my mother died, my father passed away. Sharing my experiences as a daughter, caregiver, wife and mother hopefully will help others who are grieving over the loss of their parent."

    Excellent blog that I thought should be passed along.
    http://www.orphanat60.blogspot.com/

    All the Lonely People

    In a recent survey, 43 percent of respondents 45 through 49 are chronically lonely, compared with 25 percent of those 70 and older. What is going on? This article from AARP Magazine is worth reading.

    http://www.aarp.org/personal-growth/transitions/info-09-2010/all_the_lonely_people.1.html

    Tips for overcoming loneliness...

    http://www.aarp.org/relationships/family/info-09-2010/loneliness-or-depression.html

    As someone who is trying to find ways to build bridges and connect people in wider social networks, this information is good to know but concerning as well. We must work hard to stay connected...eye to eye, face to face, hand to hand. Talk on the phone with older adults if that is their preferred form of communication (email or texting may be your preferred form of communication but it may not be their preferred form.)

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    How to write an autobiography: 3 tips to getting started

    Every life deserves a book. So how should we go about creating an autobiography and avoiding the dreaded blank sheet of paper?

    1) Realize you DO have something when you write your life story and that it DOES matter. Your memories of parents and grandparents alone is a story worth sharing. Every day of life experience has taught you something. Your children and grandchildren will appreciate anything you write or type for them whether it is a one-page letter or a 100-page book. Frankly, I think obituaries are way too little information, way too late.

    2) Don't start with a blank sheet of paper. There are numerous tools on the market that provide an online autobiography template. Also, life story journals or memory journals with prompting questions are also available at any Barnes & Noble or online. When questions are priming the pump of your memories, this gets a whole lot easier. Even if you want to create a more customized book someday, you may want to start with a template of autobiography questions to help you get your first draft done and to stay organized.

    3) Don't wait until you are 90 to get started. At age 34, I started my own life story and it was quite an eye opener. As I looked at my story as a whole after a few weeks of answering autobiography questions, I was surprised to come to some new conclusions. It helped me see how one thing led to another, that led to another, that led to another. The whole chain of events was fascinating. I thought about my life in a "bigger picture" view that included my grandparents, my parents, myself, and my children. I even wrote a letter, as part of my story, to my future grandchildren. Also, it helped me think about, "What's next?" What will the next chapter of my life look like? So I see it as an excellent planning tool if you're in transition and asking yourself the question, "What's next?" You may find that, when you reflect, you remember how much you loved something when you were a kid. Looking back, could actually hold the secret to your future!

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Intergenerational Projects for Teens

    Youth are always seeking community service projects--so why not take the opportunity to have them connect to interview an older adults at a nursing home, senior living, assisted living community, church, senior center, or other setting. It's great to have a core group of kids in a service learning project who are going to do this project together so they can support each other. I'd recommend 5-8 teens and it would be great if it is a mix of male and female. As youth volunteers, they will appreciate a brief training on what they may encounter and tips for talking with seniors such as... 1) Don't mumble when you ask a question; 2) Listen carefully -- they know when you are not listening; 3) Don't worry about staying on track too much. A question you ask may take you off to a very interesting tangent that is important to their elder partner. 

    Tools that help them easily start conversations and complete a simple project are recommended. After all, youth volunteers are busy with so many things and this may need to be a short-term project to be successful. If there is flexibility built in, that's great. So he or she can start out participating in a 1-day experience and then it can expand as the teenager wishes. For a starter project, Story Cards and Storyboards are great tools to make relationship building easy and Volunteer Training can be provided to get your group started. If the teenagers don't have to worry so much about WHAT to ask, they can concentrate more on HOW they ask it and focus on listening to the answer and recording it. If it isn't recorded, it will be lost or forgotten. They may just ask 3-4 questions during a visit or there may be time for more. Sometimes youth can make a bulletin board out of people's answers to a particular question in a nursing home setting. Sometimes the youth want to keep coming back in a 6-8 week project (one middle school teacher makes it an 8-week after school project). If it is a longer term project, the youth can be asking questions at LifeBio.com and typing in their partner's answers.....or they can be writing answers into a Life Story Journal. The beauty of the online system is that the students can actually print out a copy of the person's life story easily when the project ends.

    The older adults are volunteering to share their stories. The youth are volunteering to help record the stories. This is definitely a win-win experience that will TRANSFORM lives. It can work in a senior center, a library, a church, a care facility, senior living, or anywhere that youth and adults could benefit from more conversation and understanding and love. Call if we can help. 1-866-543-3246, info@lifebio.com http://www.lifebio.com/ Packages are available for groups.

    Autobiography Class for Libraries

    Every person should have the chance to write a book! Libraries are an ideal place to offer autobiography writing classes. Regardless of someone's age, there are people, times, and places to share...plus the library is great place for friendships to form. Although autobiography classes are usually most appealing to those over 50 or seniors, there is no reason why a library wouldn't be able to include adults of any age in a course to capture life stories. An autobiography class in a library for seniors or all ages should include a great ice breaker, opportunities for people to tell and share stories, and it shouldn't be overly complicated or intimidating. In other words, even people who consider themselves non-writers should be able to participate.

    Ideally, the autobiography class will focus on general life experiences, parents/grandparents or other loved ones, childhood memories, love, marriage, jobs and careers, life lessons, values, and wisdom. There can also be a celebration at the end of the course to share the autobiographies written (or at least started) with the class participants and even family and friends. The living history of a community can be captured in such a class, and it would be fantastic if the library even offered the opportunity to archive the class participants' stories or at least a summary of the writings, in some way, in the local library. Present and future generations will be grateful to know the identity and essence of people -- not just their genealogy records. Also, the new connection and friendships from such an autobiography writing group cannot be underestimated.

    For an idea of what your library can offer, please visit this link:
    https://secure.lifebio.com/LifeBio_101_8_week_Class_Materials-details.aspx

    Questions? Call 1-866-543-3246 or 937-303-4576 or email info@lifebio.com

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Technology for nursing homes of the 21st Century

    Technology in skilled nursing is very beneficial for the residents, families, and staff. Here are a few reasons why computers in long term care or assisted living will continue to expand now and in the future...

    Why Technology is Important to Residents
    Safe and easy Internet access and email
    Activities on computers adapted to seniors' unique abilities and interests
    Improved socialization and quality of life
    Better connection with family and community using computers in nursing homes
    Further independence
    Cognitively stimulating

    Why Technology is Important to the Community
    Provide dignified, state of the art activities and therapy
    CMS F-tag regulation compliance
    Increase reimbursible therapy minutes with technology in long term care
    Marketing differentiation
    Creative and meaningful dementia programming
    Engage younger volunteers
    Ease move in transition
    Improve communication for family

    LifeBio has partnered with It's Never 2 Late to bring memory care programming to nursing homes and assisted living communities across the U.S. IN2L's expertise in technology and content development makes them an ideal partner. They have many years of experience in supporting communities everywhere. LifeBio's MemoryBio approach is included on the IN2L systems. Their adaptive systems are full of amazing things for older adults to do that can provide for meaningful activities and engagement.

    Visiting IN2L's site to see examples of how adaptive technology for seniors can be beneficial. Jack York, founder of IN2L, is an excellent speaker on the topic of adaptive technology for older adults too.

    To learn more about computers for nursing homes, visit http://www.in2l.com/ or call (303) 806-0797 or email info@in2l.com.

    To learn more about LifeBio's memory care programming and how it works in conjunction with IN2L's computer systems, email info@lifebio.com or call 1-866-543-3246. LifeBio also provides a full online autobiography template that can be accessed from the IN2L systems that are web enabled.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Memories lost. What can be done?

    Here's a stunning number. In 2010, over 400,000 Americans were diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Each year that number is expected to grow, reaching over 600,000 a year by 2030.
    LifeBio is laser focused on using innovative technology and other tools to help ensure memories are not lost or forgotten in senior living, health care organizations, nursing homes, adult day programs, and home health care settings. Why?

    • Quality - Knowing the whole person deeply has a significant impact on care. Knowing more leads to stronger relationships and higher levels of service (and lower staff turnover). It's not "nice to have" information. It preserves the person's identity.

    • Engagement - People with memory loss can still tell a great story. Powerful things happen when family, volunteers, or staff can truly connect with the person experiencing Alzheimer's or another type of dementia in a more meaningful way. It's the details of his or her past, childhood memories, family relationships from long ago, and personal life experiences that matter. Conversations about today don't connect like conversations about the past. Story has the power to engage and teach US as we listen.

    • Health - Reminiscence works the hippocampus area of the brain where memories are stored. Reminiscence touches all dimensions of wellness too--especially on an emotional and spiritual level. Today, the disease can't be stopped but perhaps it can be slowed. Innovators will keep working, trying, striving to do anything possible to help.

    LIFEBIO BROCHURE

    LifeBio provides technology (http://www.lifebio.com/), Life Story Journals, Story Cards, Storyboards, and other tools for capturing life stories and ensuring memories are not lost or forgotten. LifeBio delivers training that helps organizations succeed. LifeBio also helps organizations with their fundraising/development, person-centered care initiatives, and outreach/marketing efforts. Want more info? Call 937-303-4574 or email info@lifebio.com to learn how to become a LifeBio Certified Organization without delay.

    Wednesday, February 09, 2011

    Reunion games - a conversation starter

    One of the challenges of planning games for a reunion is coming up with something that everyone can play together -- younger and older alike. Sack races and balloon tosses are great, but interative family games can be a bit more difficult to plan. Conversation starters can break down barriers and make for a memorable family reunion game for all ages. I would suggest that autobiographical, interesting questions are circulated and there is a time limit (maybe even 15 minutes) to ask the question and gather at least a few answers from different people. The group can be challenged to talk to people they don't know or people of all ages. Turning conversation into a GAME is the key. For example, LifeBio's downloadable Story Cards provide 25 thought-provoking, fun questions that can be cut out and passed out at your next family reunion or other family gathering. There are also answer cards that say "My Story" at the top to write down answers. A great followup from the reunion would be to compile the questions asked and the answers to post online or to send out to everyone who attended.  If you pick different questions every year, it could become a new tradition every year at your family reunion. Building relationships is what really matters...but we sometimes have to be intentional about it.
    https://secure.lifebio.com/Story_Card_Conversation_Game-details.aspx

    Questions? Give us a call at 1-866-543-3246 (1-866-LIFEBIO). http://www.lifebio.com/ info@lifebio.com