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

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.

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 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

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 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...