Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How do I tell my grandma's life story?

That's the question I asked myself. I started by asking my mother about the stories that my grandmother always shared so I could start my interview off in a good way.  I asked about her childhood and heard about the first time she tasted a new thing called Jello and the first time she saw an airplane.  She told me about HER grandmother and her parents.  I felt a new connection with these older generations in my family--we had a love of education and our faith in common.  Grandma shared details about the work she did in her life and the things she learned through the years.  What really happened was that my grandma became a WHOLE person that day--she was a lot like me...just older.  It was an eye-opening experience and I would recommend that anyone consider interviewing your grandmother or another older loved one.  You just don't know what you don't know.

Need help with the process and the right biography questions to ask?  www.lifebio.com

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Biography template on the web

Have you been saying to yourself, "How do I write my biography?" Here's some ideas to get you started.
1) Talk about the people. The people who shaped your life are going to be an important part of your story. Parents, grandparents, siblings, close aunts and uncles....these are people worth writing about.
2) Childhood memories are worth recording. Your best friend, your favorite climbing tree, your school experiences, and your favorite TV shows. All details that need to be captured....and you'll be surprised at how the process opens a door to more memories. Explore all your senses.
3) History has really touched your life. No matter your age, there has been political events, wars, life-changing experiences, wonderful accomplishments in technology, and much more that have shaped history and your own life. These need to be documented in your personal history (you're becoming your own personal historian!)--better than a history book.
4) The real world of adulthood needs to be captured. Love, marriage, children, grandchildren, pets, volunteerism, your favorite charities, and more. What makes your grown up life great? This is something that also deserves to be in your biography or the biography of a loved one.
5) Bring it all together -- Be sure your values, beliefs, life lessons, and more are there for your family and friends to read today and in the future. Genealogy is great, but the essence of who you are needs to be recorded. You and the people who came before you are worth remembering.

http://www.lifebio.com is a great resource if you need some help with a guided biography method.

5 Tips for Using Reminiscence in Health Care and Hospice

Consider starting a life stories program in health care settings or hospice care for a number of reasons.

1) Reminiscence impacts all dimensions of wellness -- especially the emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and social aspects. Even the physical dimension is touched with reports of lowered pain and increased brain activity.

2) Life stories are a great way to connect volunteers with patients (or volunteers with residents in long-term care). Given the right structure, it is not hard for a volunteer to build a relationship by learning more about the person and having a great conversation about the past--even 20 questions in a Life Story Guide can be perfect or using an Ipad to record life stories online. Volunteer programs in long-term care or health care settings can be enhanced through reminiscence.

3) Families are seeking new things to talk about when they visit. Opening the door to new conversation through storytelling will be appreciated.  It will take away from the boredom and loneliness and long days that can result as someone is recovering in a hospital or spending time in a rehab situation or nursing home. Story Cards provided to health care settings can be a great way for families to have a structure for visiting.

4) Life review can be a necessity for those reaching the end of life. Hospice care providers are commonly looking for simple but powerful ways to allow someone the chance to say what matters most.  It is important to capture the essence of the person before it is too late.  Also, there is a peace that comes from knowing that critical information will be past on to present and future generations. 

5) Person-centered care and patient-centered care make it essential to know the whole person.  There is nothing more person-centered or patient-centered than biography!  Consider creating a Storyboard that is displayed as part of the care plan to ensure that frontline staff see the patient or resident at other stages of life. It can really improve staff empathy and also be a great training tool for new staff -- on the importance of seeing the WHOLE person.

LifeBio has over seven years of experience working with health care organizations to implement life story programs nationally and internationally. The program includes an online biography system, journals, class settings, and training for staff.  If you'd like to know more about becoming a LifeBio Authorized Organization, please call 1-866-543-3246 or 937-303-4974 or email info@lifebio.com to request more information.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How do I interview my parents or grandparents? Good question.

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

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

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

4. Pick a quiet place for an interview. If your planning to use a video camera, you'll want to pick a quiet spot free of distractions for interviewing your parents or grandparents. If you are interviewing grandpa and the phone rings or someone walks in the room, it just takes away from the video. Post a sign on the door--do not disturb. Test your equipment and test the spot where you are recording. You want the video to show up well with the lighting in the room. LifeBio's Memory Journal and our Guide to Interviewing and Recording could help you know what to ask and how to conduct the interview.

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

5 tips for writing an autobiography

Here's some great ways to get started with writing your autobiography or even writing a biography of a loved one. 
1) Talk about the people.  The people who shaped your life are going to be an important part of your story.  Parents, grandparents, siblings, close aunts and uncles....these are people worth writing about. 
2) Childhood memories are worth recording.  Your best friend, your favorite climbing tree, your school experiences, and your favorite TV shows.  All details that need to be captured....and you'll be surprised at how the process opens a door to more memories. Explore all your senses.
3) History has really touched your life.  No matter your age, there has been political events, wars, life-changing experiences, wonderful accomplishments in technology, and much more that have shaped history and your own life.  These need to be documented in your personal history (you're becoming your own personal historian!)--better than a history book. 
4) The real world of adulthood needs to be captured.  Love, marriage, children, grandchildren, pets, volunteerism, your favorite charities, and more.  What makes your grown up life great?  This is something that also deserves to be in your biography or the biography of a loved one. 
5) Bring it all together -- Be sure your values, beliefs, life lessons, and more are there for your family and friends to read today and in the future. Genealogy is great, but the essence of who you are needs to be recorded.  You and the people who came before you are worth remembering.

http://www.lifebio.com   is a great resource if you need some help with a guided biography method.