Monday, December 30, 2013

The Perfect Gift

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

1) Good gifts are personalized gifts. The thought comes from the heart. The gifts that are well thought out or made by hand touch people the most. Not just some knick knack you found at the dollar tree.
2) They are needed. They help the person receiving it to solve a problem. Not just the problem of how else can they waste their time!
3) They are FUN. Maybe we learn something or experience something new when this gift enters our lives. It shouldn't just be something that will be thrown on a shelf or in a bin when the season is over.
4) They have a "ripple effect". They impact not just the gift receiver but the family, friends, and loved ones maybe for years to come. They don't pull you away from them and keep you in your room as you play with perfect gadget.


It's winter! It's cold and miserable, and no one wants to go outside. Don't let the gift giving stop once Christmas is over! Stay warm, and give the gift of your time to your loved ones. You can sit by the blazing fire with a mug of hot cocoa in your hands, and learn the life stories of your family and friends. It's endlessly fascinating!

Lifebio.com can help you write down these amazing stories so you don't forget them. Publish them, so generations upon generations can look back and see what you or a loved one was like. Don't wait! Use these cold winter months to do something that will last forever.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Family Reunion Fun

Is your family reunion coming up soon? Family reunions can be a confusing and hectic mess. How is this person related to me? Do I know you? What side are you on? Here are some tools for bringing the generations together:

1. Print out or write questions to answer. Lifebio has great questions that can really get a conversation started! Have fun, and use these questions to get to know each other. Give prizes to people who have the most interesting life stories!

2. Bring your Ipad and start a LifeBio on grandma, grandpa, your great uncle, or your Aunt Betty.  Just create a new LifeBio.com account and you'll have the best questions at your fingertips, and have a way to input them. Be creative! Have people participate and see how well they know the person you're interviewing.
LifeBio Membership

3.  Make a Storyboard display about the oldest members of your family to show at the event.  The board is pretty to begin with---so it will take no time at all to pop on some old pictures and a few brief facts about the person. Make a family tree while you're at it! Have everyone add their own branch and decorate it themselves.
LifeBio Storyboard  

Enjoy the good food and the good times together--but cherish those life stories and those unique people as well.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Give the Gift of Memory

It seems that as people get older (or maybe not so old!) they start to realize that they really don't want anything for Christmas. When people ask me what I want for the upcoming holidays, I look at them blankly. Do I really want the latest iPhone? Or the latest technology? Do I really need a new food processor? No, of course not. In the United States, we want for nothing. What do you give someone when they really don't need anything?

Consider the gift of Lifebio. They can type their memories and amazing stories into our program online, or you can interview them yourself, thousands of miles away, and still be able to type in their responses.
Or, if they're a more hands-on person, give them another approach. The Memory Journal asks hundreds of great questions and they can write their answers straight in the book.

When hundreds of Americans have never written down their life story, this is a great gift to give- before it's too late and their stories are lost forever! This Christmas, think outside the box: Give your loved ones the gift of memory. This is a unique gift for that person who has everything!

Visit lifebio.com for more gift ideas for parents, grandparents, friends and family!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

A Perfect Gift 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) LifeBio.com Membership - for that tech savvy grandparent!

2) Memory Journal Book

Just click on the word for a link directly to these great gifts! Don't get your grandparents a pan that they don't need or want. Give them the gift of your time and interest. Let them know that you want to record their life stories because you care about them so much.

It's a perfect gift for the upcoming holidays!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Beginning an Intergenerational Project

In this day and age, the gap between the younger and older  generation is widening.Technology and customs are changing so quickly that it is making it harder and harder to relate. Doing an intergenerational project is a great way for the two generations to bond and relate a little more.

1. Decide who will participate. Is there a likely connection between older adults and youth in your community? For example, a group of older people in your church and a church youth group. OR seniors living in assisted living and the high school National Honor Society.

2. Define the scope of the project. Will this be a short term or more long term program? One session or multiple times of meeting together? Keep it simple at first. Not too many participants (maybe 5-6 of each age group) and just meet together 1-2 times to see how it goes.

3. Determine the resources you need. Storyboards are a wonderful idea and so are Story Cards that get people talking about things they don't normally discuss. Computer projects or memory journals can also be great tools for capturing the life stories of older adults. Maybe the older adults can capture the life stories of the youth too! It can be a two-way street.

4. Connect. Once you have a plan--go for it! Don't worry that everything has to be perfect, but try your best to break the ice and bring older adults and youth together comfortably. An opening fun introduction or some kind of food shared will help people start to talk before they jump into the oral history project.

5. Evaluate. Make sure you survey your first participants and learn from the experience. Then you can incorporate this knowledge into your growing program...and see great success!

Lifebio.com has great resources to help you make this more fun and easier. Try it out! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Check out the If You Died Guide -- the record your family needs for household, legal, financial, medical

Use the code   lifebio10 to get $10.00  off 
http://www.ifyoudiedguide.com/our-products.html

The If You Died Guide is the ultimate one life/one record resource. It summarizes in one written document, or electronically on your computer, all of the important matters of your daily life - household, legal, and financial.

Providing key information in their time of need, the Guide enables your spouse, partner or children to experience a much smoother, less stressful transition as they strive to manage your affairs and honor your wishes.

Available in fillable PDF format, electronic flash drive, printed notebook - or any combination of the three, with free shipping for everything - the If You Died Guide brings fill-in-the-blank convenience to the challenging task of organizing your life's most critical information and records. What's more, while you're still living, you'll find it to be of immediate benefit as an extremely useful all-in-one reference for you and family.

Comprehensive in scope. Flexible to fit the life you live. Let the If You Died Guide create a practical, peace-of-mind roadmap for you and your family. No matter what the future holds.

http://www.ifyoudiedguide.com/our-products.html

If you died tomorrow, or became unable to manage your affairs, would your family know how to pick up the pieces you left behind? More than a will, living trust or estate plan, the If You Died Guide is a comprehensive document that will give your loved ones, near and far, a vital resource in their time of grief. From financial and legal details to your medical and household information, the guide will provide your children, spouse, partner, significant other or caregivers with the essential details they'll need to make informed decisions should you suddenly pass on or become incapacitated.

What's more, you can turn to the If You Died Guide as a definitive all-in-one reference to access your important information any time while you're very much alive. Whether you are in your retirement years, or even if you are young and just starting out, you can use it to list all of your insurance information, make a household budget, calculate your net worth, provide a Pets section for your house sitter - the list goes on and on. With 100 pages of detail, the If You Died Guide goes beyond the content included in wills and living wills, powers of attorney, and health care surrogate documents, to help you cover key information that would otherwise escape your attention. Your attention to personal matters NOW will provide an ease of transition should something happen to you and will alleviate unnecessary stress your love ones would have experienced had you not provided them with the If You Died Guide.

Simple to fill out and easy to add to over time, the If You Died Guide is available in fillable PDF format, electronic flash drive, printed notebook, or any combination of the three, with free shipping on every purchase. We've created it as the ultimate all-in-one reference. Your family will find it a peace-of-mind record of the life you've lived ... and one lasting act of love to ease their way forward.
Click here to see some sample pages from the If You Died Guide.

http://www.ifyoudiedguide.com/our-products.html

To get $10 off, use the code  lifebio10 to save


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Discovery of a Lifetime

Watch this incredible story from GrowingBolder.com about a woman who discovered her father's letters and realized what he and his family had endured during World War II. She was touched by both the war in Europe and Asia. This is an 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.

http://growingbolder.com/media/relationships/family/discovery-of-a-lifetime-647090.html

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lifebio is for Everyone

Whether you're thinking about telling and sharing your own life story, or you've always wanted to write a book, LifeBio can help you take that first step. Lifebio moves you step-by-step through the autobiography process, making it simple and fun to write down you're life story.

If you don't want to write your own life story, but you're thinking about helping a loved one (parent, grandparent, best friend, or other people) tell and share his or her life stories, LifeBio is also a fantastic resource. Lifebio's questions help make conversations interesting and help bring up almost forgotten memories.

 LifeBio is useful if you're writing your own autobiography, or a loved one's biography. In fact, you can start your own LifeBio and work on someone else's too--with one password-protected LifeBio membership.

Life stories are a priceless gift. You'll be surprised at the new information you learn about yourself and the people you love. LifeBio helps people write what other people would like to read and know.

People who use LifeBio:

1. Parents
2. Grandparents
3. Genealogists
4. Scrapbookers
5. New Writers
6. Students/Grandchildren
7. Teachers
8. Adult children (with parents/grandparents)
9. Social Workers
10. Home Visitation Volunteers
11. Chaplains
12. Hospice Volunteers
13. Nurses
14. Activities Directors
15. Wellness Directors
16. Geriatric Care Managers

Get started today at lifebio.com today! Lifebio is a resource that everyone can use! 

Friday, September 27, 2013

2013 Best Gift Ideas for Seniors (Great Gifts for Financial Advisors and Estate Attorneys to Give to Clients)

Here are three great gift ideas for seniors:

1) A LifeBio.com Membership allows seniors or their family members to have a step-by-step process to record life stories.  You can even use it with people who are experiencing memory loss -- to capture what matters most before it is too late. 
http://secure.lifebio.com/p/24/lifebio-membership-gift-certificate-one-time-fee

2) A Memory Journal is a beautiful hardcover book that can be provided to your family member.  We've also provided these to financial advisors or estate attorneys to give to their most valued clients.  These retail for $19.95 (plus S&H) but there are bulk discounts available.   http://secure.lifebio.com/p/7/memory-journals

3) Let LifeBio do the work!  LifeBio will interview ANYONE over the phone. We spend about 90 minutes speaking with your family member, loved one, or client using LifeBio's carefully-crafted approach.  We send a beautiful folder containing multiple copies of the written life story. The audio recordings by phone are also provided on a USB drive.   Call 866-LIFEBIO or 937-303-4576 to learn more. 

For all the gift options above, please contact us at info@lifebio.com   or learn more by visiting http://secure.lifebio.com    -- thank you! 

Visit us at the AARP Life @ 50 Conference in Atlanta

There will be 3 opportunities to connect with LifeBio at the AARP Conference this coming week. 

1) LifeBio will have a VERY engaging exhibit showing the new LifeBio Studio app.  Come by and start video recording your biography.  It's easier than ever to use video with the webcam in the iPad....and LifeBio's process and questions guiding you every step of the way!  

2) I will be presenting with Dr. David Martin of UnitedHealthcare on the UnitedHealthcare stage from 12:30 to 1:15 on Friday, October 4th. 

3) I will be presenting on the AARP TEK stage on Friday, October 4th from 3:45 to 4:15 p.m. The topic will be "Using Technology to Capture Your Own Life Stories & Your Family's Stories:  What's your story? What are ways that technology makes it easier to record and share?  Even if you are just starting to use computers, you can have fun capturing your own and your family's life experiences.

Hope to see you at AARP Life @ 50 Conference in Atlanta!   Stop by our booth and say hello!!!!

Beth Sanders
info@lifebio.com
937-303-4576

Become a Sponsor or Advertiser on www.lifebio.com

LifeBio is now accepting advertising and sponsorships from businesses that appeal to the 50+ market.  Because LifeBio works with over 100 senior care and health care providers, there will be exclusive advertising available to both national and local companies who are focused in on seniors and their family or professional caregivers.   Please contact us at 937-303-4574 or 937-303-4576 for more information on sponsorship/advertising pricing or email info@lifebio.com

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Choosing the Right Memory Book for You

You may be interested in a memory book for your mother, father, grandmother, or grandfather.  It may be a little daunting to know what to look for in a memory book.  Sometimes having some structure makes it easier to interview a parent or grandparent. Here are some things to watch for when choosing a memory book or memory journal:

1) How are the questions organized? Does it provide a clear structure to allow your loved one to cover all the major events of life? Does it make it easy for them to describe people that shaped their lives, memories from growing up, adulthood, and beliefs and values? These are all critical to building a complete life story. Topics like pets, volunteerism and philanthropy, friendship, and lessons through the years are all parts of life that can be written about.

2) Will the memory book evoke the kinds of things you as children or grandchildren really want to know? In other words, do the questions get to the core of WHO your mom or dad really is? Does it inspire them to reminisce more? Will the autobiography questions go deep enough? Some memory books might only provide two or three questions about your mother's parents, while the Memory Journal has fourteen questions on the topic of "Mother" alone.

3) Is the memory book asking positive or neutral questions? A memory book's questions should not be leading a person to answer in a negative way (although they can always choose how they will answer a question). For example, one memory book asked the question, "Did your mother hug you enough as a child?" This is not a very good question to ask. Even if your mother hugged you a lot, you start to ask yourself, "Did she hug me enough?" Instead, the Memory Journal asks you to... "Describe your mother to someone who has never met her." This is an example of a good, positive question.

4) Is there a next step? Can the memory book become something more? Families are typically interested in having a copy of a parent's or grandparent's memory book. Although the pages can always be copied and simply stapled or bound together, there are other ways to bring the story to a final form. For example, the Memory Journal's questions match those found at LifeBio.com so you can easily transfer information from the journal to the web. Next, one or multiple copies of leather, hardcover books can then be made from the person's story and distributed to family and friends.

 A memory book will bring out many things that don't come up in typical conversation. Sometimes,  asking the questions over the phone is a good way to go, especially if you live faraway from your mother or father. Don't miss out on the amazing things your older relatives have to share.

There's no time like the present and no better gift to the future.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

10 Activities To Do With Your Grandchildren

In this day and age, kids are so caught up in technology that you may feel like you're losing your grand kids. This doesn't have to happen, and it doesn’t mean you have to stop spending quality time with your grandchildren. There are plenty of fun activities that you and your grandchildren will enjoy! The following activities from Leah Ingram’s Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier and Healthier for Less, can help you reconnect and develop a better relationship with your grandchildren:

  • Create a shoebox treasure chest
  • Make a towel-roll cord organizer
  • Create hand-made greeting cards
  • Organize a toy-swap party with other grandparents and parents
  • Have a cooking party
  • Put on an old-fashioned sock puppet show
  • Take a trip to the library
  • Stay in for a movie night
  • Have a water balloon fight
  • Go out for a picnic (indoor picnics are fun on rainy days, too!)

While you're spending time with your grandchildren and getting to know them more, let them get to know you by sharing memories of your childhood with them. What games did you like to play? Where did you hang out? What was your favorite subject in school? Take it step further and go to Lifebio.com for more great memory recording materials. 

Monday, September 09, 2013

What If Everyone Had an Autobiography?

This is a unique time in history. Every man and woman has a voice. Their thoughts and opinions can be expressed for the world to read like never before. Everyone can easily have at least 15 minutes of fame. Now here's a revolutionary thought. What if everyone had an autobiography? What if you didn't have to be rich, famous, or unnaturally brilliant to have your own 50-page or 100-page book of stories, memories, life lessons, and values?  Imagine the impact that your life story could have on the life of your family or friends. Imagine that loved ones aren't just left with a short obituary and a tombstone---they actually know who you are, what you believed, and what you did in your lifetime.  Genealogists would  love more autobiographies, as they spend countless hours in libraries trying to figure out who their relatives are. By writing your own autobiography, you could make it easier for your descendents to figure out who you really were. You wouldn't be lost in the past. You wouldn't be that great-great-grandmother or father that no one knows anything about. Families would be able to open your own personal book and learn something new or gain a unique perspective on your life. The could gain strength and inspiration from you- someone who took the time to share.

Lifebio.com has easy do-it-yourself autobiography creation tools. We encourage family members to reminisce and record their stories.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Gift of an Autobiography

It may be an uncommon gift, but why not give your children and grandchildren your autobiography? Only about 6% of Americans leave a legacy behind them. Too few, too little, too late. Think about all the knowledge and stories that are lost! You can record your fascinating life stories and pass it on. It's so much better than a store bought gift that will soon be forgotten and lost in a drawer or the back of a closet. Get started today at www.lifebio.com. You can use the free Autobiography Template. It's fast and easy, and you're precious children will always remember your legacy.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Your Personal Trainer for Personal History

Today I was thinking about the ways that LifeBio helps our clients say what matters most to the people they love. I thought about how our questions and online template motivates people to actually create an autobiography...and that anyone can write a book with the help of LifeBio's structure and questions. So I thought to myself, "We're the personal trainer for personal history!" In fact, where LifeBio 101 classes are offered around the country, it's just like knowing you have an appointment with your coach. You have to keep coming back to class with more information in your LifeBio ready to share. We help you stay motivated. Here's to helping millions of people tell and share their life stories. Seemingly ordinary people have extraordinary things to share. --Beth Sanders

Monday, August 26, 2013

Recording Biographies for People with Alzheimer's

Recording the biographies of people with with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia is an incredibly important process. Some of these memories will be lost forever, and someday your recordings will be all that is left. Here are some helpful tips to make the biography of your loved one as special as possible.

1.  The process of recording life stories and memories is very important. You shouldn't write and think about memories and just be finished. The ideal situation is for the creation of a life story to be an ongoing process where the person is engaged in activities to stimulate memory and to continually build a strong relationship with one or more caregivers. Reminiscence involves stimulating the hippocampus of the brain where memories are stored and also working the prefrontal cortex (executive function). This is excellent cognitive fitness exercise. Keep in mind that the process of capturing the memories, assembling pictures, and discussion is as important as any finished product--it could become a  beautiful memory book for someone with Alzheimer's.  Remembering is also a fun thing to do for many older people.

2. The more we know, the more we love. People with memory loss are sometimes difficult to care for, but knowing someones life story can help a professional caregiver or family caregiver see this person with new eyes. This incredible, unique person has led a rich and interesting life with people, times, and places to share. It's important to see them as a child, a youth, a worker, a parent, and a grandparent. You need to have a holistic view of this person's life journey. Every day is a gift and people with Alzheimer's give love to their caregivers and need to receive special care and love too--many do teach us and share wisdom even with the disease. There is always more caring and empathy when the whole person is understood. It can also help a caregiver understand behaviors that may occur with Alzheimer's--things sometimes tied to an event from the past or childhood.

3. Incorporate memories into daily care. How can this person's home include many chances for reminiscence and more interaction today? Perhaps a memory journal can be an ongoing source for discussion as someone comes to visit, whether in a private home or in a nursing home or assisted living setting. It works out well when there are pictures found to complement the memories and they are DISPLAYED as part of a loved one's care plan (although the person shouldn't be quizzed to remember people's names in the pictures). It doesn't help anyone if these memories are hidden in a book in a drawer somewhere. Make it easy for nurses, geriatric care managers, social workers, family members or other visitors to see and use the information gathered in daily conversation.

4. Storytelling is a give and take experience. A person with memory loss may reach a point where it is very hard to communicate. If we've accomplished the goal of recording stories and memories, caregivers can still be the ones sharing when memories fade. The movie, The Notebook, was an excellent example of how a caregiver could continue to connect, relate, and share the story again after her memories were lost. We are operating with one hand tied behind our backs if we don't know at least some of this person's distant memories of childhood and teen years. BUT if we don't know the individual's past experiences, then it is time to connect eye-to-eye, face-to-face, hand-to-hand and tell one of our own stories. Talk about a time your car or truck broke down, talk about your childhood friends and games you played, talk about your last vacation. Watch and see if this conversation connects. The door of communication should stay open...even if we're not sure how much the person is able to understand.

There are many good reasons to reminisce and record memories for Alzheimer's patients. With the millions of people who are expected to be affected now and in the future, the time is now to begin capturing life stories.
_____________________________________
 
Beth Sanders is the author of the Life Story Journal and Memory Journal and the CEO of http://www.lifebio.com/. LifeBio serves over 100 senior living communities, nursing homes, home care agencies, and hospitals by providing easy tools for capturing life stories to improve cognitive health.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Storytelling and Reminiscence Therapy

People with memory problems such as dementia or alzheimers benefit greatly from life review activities and processes. The recording of these memories is important for maintaining meaninful connection and communication. This needs to be recorded before its too late- too often, these memories are lost before anyone has written them down. We need to be able to walk in their shoes so that we can understand them and help them now and in the future. The person will make more sense if they are deeply known by everyone around them.

The Mayo Clinic neurology department discovered how valuable the information could be. They adopted reminiscence programming (using LifeBio's Life Story Journal) because they see the importance of helping someone with early-stage Alzheimer's to record memories, but they also found that the process helped them celebrate their life experiences, see their accomplishments, connect with their family caregiver more, and record information that only this person can share. Because reminiscence promotes feelings of happiness and purposefulness, it is also a great activity for Alzheimer's patients.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

How to Write an Autobiography

Beginning your autobiography could be a scary task. Sometimes, it's hard to know where to even start. Lifebio has the best autobiography template on the web.

First, it's important to start with the people that shaped your life. Mother, father, grandparents, siblings- anyone that made you who you are today. Second, go through your childhood memories. Your favorite books, games, pets and best friends are all part of your childhood. The third area is the "Real World". Talk about your adulthood, love, marriage, friends, travels, and your career. Finally, bring it all together with your values and beliefs, the life lessons you learned, and your hopes and dreams.

Lifebio makes it easy to begin your autobiography, or a biography of a loved one. Just walk through the process on our website, and watch as Lifebio generates your biography in an easy-to read, ready to print PDF file.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Interviewing Grandma and Grandpa

Starting the process of interviewing your grandparents may be a daunting process. How do I even begin? What should I say? Here are 5 tips to get you started on this fun adventure.

1. Don't talk yourself out of it. In this day and age, there are always a thousand things that need to be done, and a thousand more that needed to be done yesterday. Interviewing grandma and grandpa is an important activity that you need to incorporate into your busy schedules, so don't delay. Schedule a time and keep to that time.

2. Find the story behind their pictures. Grandpa and grandma probably have albums full of family pictures that mean a lot to them. Look through it with them, and find the story. They have so many things that they can tell you that literally no one else can. Take the time and talk about each picture, figuring out the story that goes along with it.

3. Structure is good. Think about the questions you want to ask before you get together or call them up on the phone. Lifebio's template 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.

4. Pick a quiet place for the interview. Make sure that you and grandpa and grandma are in place where there are no distractions like TV or other people chatting. This is especially important if you're planning on using a video camera. If someone walks in during the interview, it could ruin the entire thing. LifeBio's Video Recording Kit may be something you want to consider because it includes our Guide to Interviewing and Recording and all the equipment you'll need.

5. Smile a lot and speak up. Your grandparents need to know how much you're happy to be recording their life stories. Speaking loudly and clearly helps them, and it keeps you from having to repeat the question. This could be a life changing activity for all of you, and you need to show confidence. Helping capture grandma and grandpa's life stories for all eternity is certainly very special!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Praise From Lifebio's Members

"I am thrilled about LifeBio's service.

My Mom has been saying for quite some time that she wants to write down some stories of her life. She hasn't done it and I think that it is in large part due to the fact that it is a big task. How do you start? This is perfect. I am very excited to give her a Memory Journal for Christmas and then enter her answers at LifeBio.com too. I have already told a couple of people about your service!"
--Lori, Livermore, California

Go to lifebio.com today to see what everyone's talking about!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Why Reminisce?

Activity directors for retirement communities and nursing homes may hold back from planning reminisce activities or programs. This shouldn't happen. Reminiscing is beneficial to both the participant and the interviewer.

Here are three questions activity directors may ask themselves that may cause them to hold back, and why they shouldn't let these questions bother them.

1.  Isn't it better to just focus on the future?
Storytelling helps to build authentic relationships with others. It is an excellent way to truly get to know other residents, even if they've already lived there for awhile. Everyone benefits if they can develop closer, more meaningful relationships. Lifebio Story Cards are an easy way to help initiate conversations that don't involve everyday mundane things. Lifebio helps to open doors to interesting conversations, which then leads to lifelong friendships. When people actually know each other at an in depth level, and recognize the things they have in common, it is beneficial to everyone. It helps them develop genuine love, hope and peace, and helps the staff deliver better care as well. When we share the past, it helps to develop a better future.

2. Doesn't reminiscing just dredge up all the pain and grief of the past?
Everyone has pain and loss in their lives. We can't change that, and ignoring it doesn't help. Healing comes when we can share these painful experiences and others can help us get past them and accept them. Feelings of sadness and anger should not be suppressed. They need to be shared and expressed with others. People in Lifebio 101 classes recall happy and positive experiences, review many accomplishments, and realize that they are NOT alone. There is something comforting in knowing that other people have experienced the pain that you have, and that you don't have to suffer alone. Reminiscing creates many close relationships and helps other people recognize the good that occurred in their lives.

3. Isn't reminiscing an old school activity? What's different now?
Shadow boxes and Reminisce Magazine have been used by activity directors for years. However, Lifebio is bringing something new to reminisce therapy. Lifebio is bringing a focus on lifelong learning (Lifebio 101 classes), brain fitness (working the hippo campus of the brain where memory is stored), and exploring new technology (lifebio.com). Lifebio helps people create their own biography in their own words. Lifebio enriches lives in the process, and creates a high rate of resident and family satisfaction. Management recognizes that you must really KNOW people to deliver good care and service. Lifebio helps retirement communities accomplish the BIG goal of delivering individual centered care rather than group centered.

For more information, contact Beth Sanders at 937-303-4574 or e-mail her at bsanders@lifebio.com
Click here for a Lifebio 101 class, or here for our story journals.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Mental health in nursing

Mental health is of growing interest for health insurers, hospitals, assisted living, and memory care units.  www.lifebio.com is one excellent care management intervention and a social model for building a biography, especially for older adults.  LifeBio provides questions that stimulate group discussions for cognitive treatment in speech therapy, occupational therapy, or for those with Alzheimer's Disease or mild cognitive impairment.  Consider ways to increase reimbursement by using a tool like the Life Story Journal or www.lifebio.com in your treatment plan.

4 Tips for Using Life Stories in Senior Living

Creating life stories in senior living is an excellent idea because it helps meet the many needs of your community. 

1) Building Relationships -- When people are new at a retirement community, it is key for them to get to know each other.  Offering life story programming is one of the best ways for people to connect on a deeper level and realize what they have in common. 

2) Quality & Compliance -- F-Tag requirements for long-term care settings mean that personalizing service and care is of growing importance.  It is hard to deliver the best quality care when the people are not well known. Activities and life enrichment must be geared to the unique individuals living in long-term care and even assisted living. 

3) Great for Memory Care & Overall Health - Programming for people with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's Disease must continue to improve.  When today is something that someone doesn't remember, the past is one of the very best ways to connect and communicate.  Having memory "cues" that work can reduce agitation and some communities even believe that more engaged residents will fall less and stay healthier longer. 

4) Intergenerational Opportunities & Family Connections (a great Activity!) -- One challenge in senior living is how can families and youth be more involved?  Life stories are just a natural reason for people to be communicating and learning from each other.  The wisdom and experience of older generations is passed to younger generations---technology is an excellent way for this to happen.  Although sometimes people just want to sit together and fill out a memory journal with a biography template of good autobiography questions.

_______________________________

Beth Sanders is the Founder & CEO of LifeBio Health.  LifeBio Health works in senior living and health care settings nationwide to help people capture life stories.  LifeBio is the industry-standard life story program used in over 100 communities today from coast to coast.  Learn more by emailing info@lifebio.com or call 937-303-4576. 

Memory Journal: The best memory book

If you are looking for a great memory book to chronicle life stories, look no further than the Memory Journal from LifeBio. 

Would you like to know how to write a biography? 
 
Would you like to capture family stories and record family values for your children and grandchildren? 
 
Would you like to take conversation to a whole new level when you visit an older loved one
 
Would you like to create a biography when someone is in hospice care?
 
Would you like to give the perfect GIFT to the parent or grandparent who has everything but he or she hasn't written an autobiography yet?

The Memory Journal is also available from Amazon.com 

  http://www.amazon.com/Memory-Journal-Time-Tell-Story/dp/0972875123/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376057796&sr=8-1&keywords=lifebio+memory+journal



"The Memory Journal is the only thing that’s bridged the gap between me and my dad in the past 20 years. I never knew how alike we are. It’s the only peaceful conversation we’ve ever had. We’re doing it slowly about 30 minutes of questions every time we get together."

-- Jennifer, Marysville, Ohio.


 
6 great reasons to use the Memory Journal
 
#1  - The Memory Journal is designed to help people of different ages, genders, and backgrounds record their autobiographies or the biographies of a loved one. This book works for parents, grandparents, or singles. If there are a few questions that don't apply, these can easily be left blank.
#2 - The Memory Journal contains 250+ life story questions and ample space to fill-in-the-blanks with your answers. Special care was taken to keep the questions in a logical and easy-to-use format. Topics covered include:
      • Family History
      • Mother
      • Father
      • Grandparents
      • Brothers and Sisters
      • Other Relatives
      • Historical Events
      • Growing Up
      • Childhood and Teen
      • Favorites Family Fun, Vacations, Celebrations
      • Place of Worship and Faith
      • Elementary School Years
      • Junior High/High School
      • Military Service
      • Advanced Training and College
      • Jobs and Careers
      • Love
      • Marriage
      • Home
      • Children and Parenthood
      • Grandchildren and Becoming a Grandparent
      • Everyday Moments
      • Pets
      • Family Stories and Heirlooms
      • Beliefs
      • Opinions and Tough Questions
      • Life Lessons Through the Years
      • The Future
#3  - The Memory Journal's questions match the ordering of questions at www.LifeBio.com. That means that you or your family could decide to transfer answers from the book to the web to make multiple copies of the story for family and friends, now or in the future!

#4 - Perfect for the person who would rather write than type (or for people without a computer).
 
#5 - Take it anywhere--no computer with internet access required.
 
#6 - The LifeBio Memory Journal also works well as a first draft. Ideas from the LifeBio Memory Journal can be transferred to an online LifeBio (www.lifebio.com)  and, finally, into the LifeBio Legacy Book.
 

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Leaving Behind an Ethical Will

What is an Ethical Will?

Ethical wills are a way to share your love with family and friends. It is a heartfelt letter describing what matters most to you in your life. Unlike a Last Will and Testament, an ethical will is NOT a legal document. It describes the treasures of your heart, and passes on life lessons, values, beliefs, prayers, hopes and dreams for future generations.

Why Should I Write an Ethical Will?

There is no one else like you, and you need to share that with other people, especially your loved ones. No one else has your same experiences, knowledge, and dreams. Your ethical will has the potential to affect multiple generations of your family. It is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children and grandchildren.

Once you write your ethical will, put it in a safe place- perhaps with your Last Will and Testament. Make sure that your loved ones will find it someday. You may even want to share it with your family as soon as you complete it. It could be a great conversation starter with the younger generations.

Free Ethical Will Template

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Writing Your Autobiography

Have you been saying to yourself "How do I write my autobiography?" with no idea how to go about writing it? With the write template, it can actually be a very simple and fun process. Here are some ideas to get you started.

1) Talk about the people. The people who shaped your life are important to your story. The people who love you, gave you support, helped you make memories, had fun with you- these are the people worth writing about.

2) Record your childhood memories. Write about your best friend, your favorite games, the TV shows you watched, your school experiences, and your adventures. Your childhood helped shape you into who you are as an adult- these are priceless memories.

3) Document historical events that touched your life. There have been wars, political developments, accomplishments in technology, and so much more-all of these things have changed your life and need to be recorded. They are a part of your personal history, as well as part of the history books.

4) Note your adult life. Love, marriage, children, grandchildren, work, volunteerism, and so much more- they all need to be recorded. What do you love about your adult life? This is who you are you, and it's important to recognize how your life turned out.

5) Tie it all together. Be sure that your values, beliefs and life lessons are there for your family to read and cherish in the future. The very essence of you needs to be recorded- You and the people who came before you are worth being remembered.

Lifebio.com is a great resource if you need help with writing your autobiography.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Not Telling Your Life Story- What is Lost?

We've discussed how important telling your life story is, and three things that are gained when you enjoy them with your family. But what is lost when you don't share them? What happens if your stories sit bottled up inside of you, never allowed to be shared?

Here are three important things that evaporate when family stories are not shared.

1. Relationships
Do you really know your parents and grandparents? A woman I know named Donna didn't even know her mother's first name until she interviewed her. She also felt a new  connection to her grandfather-someone she had never known- as her mother recounted stories of him.

In this technological age that we live in, genuine family communication is hard to come by. Movies, TV, cellphones, and radio have made family time hard to come by. I know several parents who hardly see their teenagers, let alone have serious discussions with them. It seems that the younger generation is more likely to want to be on their phones, texting people they see every day, rather than talking to the older generations.

We have to be intentional in setting aside time to talk with other family members, via phone or in person, to make sure these relationships aren't lost. Whether you're a parent or grandparent, uncle or aunt, take the time to tell other family members, particularly the younger generation, who you are, what your family stands for, and how much you care about them.

2. Storytelling Opportunities
When your stories aren't shared, that material is lost forever. It's great to read your kids bedtime stories, but think about closing the Dr. Seuss book and telling one of your own! YOU have an amazing life story to tell. Only YOU can share that unique experience. More often than not, your kids will enjoy your own stories more. It fascinates them that this was your own experience, and they'll feel even closer to you. Your own stories are great bedtime material. Reminisces are everything you need.

3. Values and Beliefs
Stories communicate life experiences and tell the next generation right from wrong. In a world that seems to have lost important morals, this is more important than ever. Kids need to learn from you; not the media. Family stories are a great way to accomplish this; without them, kids miss out on an important foundation.

As M. Scott Peck pointed out, "Life is difficult." Stories can convey the need for courage when trials and difficulties are encountered. Through stories of war, financial hardships, losses of one kind or another and the larger societal battles over civil and women's rights, our children can see that family members faced and overcame challenges—even death.

Real life stories, whether they are your own or your parents, can have a huge impact on children and grandchildren. Close the generational gap. It's time to start telling your life story.

Sign up today at www.lifebio.com and get started on writing your life story without delay. Write your own autobiography, or capture a parent's or grandparent's.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Why Should You Tell Your Life Story?

Many people wonder why they should tell their life story. Just as many people don't share it at all, and make up excuses as to why they don't. "No one cares about my life story." "They think it's boring." "My children know enough about me already." The truth is, sharing your life story is very important to you and your family.

Sharing stories encourages a closer, more meaningful relationship with your children and grandchildren. Family stories are important because you may be able to tell about people, times and places that no one else in your family knows about. I remember looking at pictures with my grandmother on an old slide projector, marveling at all the things she'd done and places she saw. Her life wasn't boring; it was fascinating! I felt closer than ever to my family as I learned about their lives growing up.

Sharing life stories also helps the younger generations-inspiring, teaching, and modeling strength and courage for them. What better way to model strength and courage for your children than telling them about the time you hiked up a mountain with your father, got lost, and then figured out how to get back to civilization in the dead of night?

Although these are three good reasons why you should tell your life story, you should also consider what is lost when you don't tell it. Check the blog in the next couple of days for important things that are lost when family stories aren't shared.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Intergenerational Programs for Teenagers

Teens are always looking for new and exciting community service projects. Why not have them connect with the older generation by interviewing people at nursing homes, senior centers, or other places? They can learn communication skills while becoming closer to a generation that might not understand them as well as they'd like.

Getting started: It's great to have a group of kids who will do this together and stick it out to the end. Some of them may not feel comfortable going alone, so a group of 5-8 teens would be wonderful. This may be a new experience for them, so a quick training on what they will encounter would be beneficial. Tell them things like: 1) Don't mumble when you ask a question; 2) Listen carefully. They know when you aren't listening; 3) Don't worry about staying on track too much. A question you ask may take them off on a tangent that is very important to them.

Conducting the Interviews: Bring tools that can easily start conversations and allow you to complete a successful short-term project. For a starter project, Story Cards and Storyboards are great tools to make relationship building easier. When the teenagers don't have to worry about WHAT to ask, they can worry about HOW they ask it. They can then focus on listening to the answer and recording it. If the answer isn't recorded, it is lost or forgotten. Sometimes, asking 3-4 questions per visit is best.

Completing the Interviews: Students can make a bulletin board of resident's answers to a particular question if it's in a nursing home setting, or they could make a board of a single person's life. They could decorate it together, getting to know each other more as they do. If it is a long term project, teens could type in answers at Lifebio.com, or write answers in a Life Story Journal.

The Effects: Throughout this experience, teens will learn more about the older generation and develop relationships with them. At the same time, the older adults will be able to reminisce and become close with the younger generations. It is a win-win situation, and an enriching experience for all involved. It will transform lives, and give everyone more understanding and love. If we can help, call us at 1-866-543-3246 or e-mail us at info@lifebio.com

Monday, July 22, 2013

Creating a Memory Book for Alzheimer's Patients

Memory loss can be a challenge for you and your loved ones. Making a memory book can greatly benefit the person with memory loss, as well as their caregiver. Many Alzheimer's Association chapters recommend doing this.

Making a memory book is a good idea, but how do you go about getting those memories down on paper? Here are some tips to get you started writing life stories.

1. Realize the process is as important as the product. The process of capturing the memories, assembling pictures, and discussion is as important as any finished product. Creating a memory book shouldn't be a one time thing, but rather an on going process, where the person is asked questions over a period of time. This helps stimulate their memory and continually builds a strong relationship with one or more caregivers. Over time, you will have not only have a beautiful memory book, but happier people.

2. Realize that this is not a quiz. Looking through old family photo albums is a great way to help bring back memories, but remember that this is NOT a quiz. It isn't a time to see if the person remembers your Uncle Fred or not. Be patient, and keep questions more specific for your loved one. Don't start each question with "Do you remember...?" The answer will very likely be no. Instead, ask specific yes or no questions. Instead of saying, "Do you remember your wedding day?" ask something like "Was your wedding hot?" or "What did your wedding dress look like?"

3. Realize that the more you know, the more you love. People with memory loss are sometimes difficult to care for, but a memory book helps the caregiver see this person with new eyes. They have led a rich and interesting life with people, times, and places to share. It's important to see them as a child, a youth, a worker, a parent, and a grandparent. There is always more caring and empathy when the whole person is understood.

4. Realize that your memory book should be shared. Make sure that your completed memory book is an on-going source of discussion for the loved one, visitors and caregivers. Pictures should be found to complement the memories, and it should be displayed. These rich, amazing memories don't help anyone if they're hidden away in a book or drawer somewhere.

You can purchase a memory book here to get you started on learning these wonderful memories and creating memories of your own.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

LifeBio integrates with Facebook to enable sharing

LifeBio just added a new Share button that will allow the biography platform's questions and an individual's answers to be posted to Facebook.  Now grandparents and parents may enjoy passing along their memories, wisdom, and values as they proceed through LifeBio's step-by-step process to create a full biography.

It will be fun for the kids and grandkids to read about a parent or grandparent -- the people, places, and events experienced in greater detail. Each time a question is answered, it can be shared if the LifeBio member wishes to do so.   LifeBio leads people through WHAT to say with great prompting questions. I think people will enjoy getting the reactions from their family as they learn more about them.  The conversations will be richer than ever.

Sign up now for free and start trying it out with a "lite" LifeBio membership account.  You can upgrade to Premium membership if you like it!

 -- Beth Sanders

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saving Your Family's Stories: Why It Matters

#familyhistory #genealogy  #lifestories
 
"Why should I tell my life story?" It's a good question, one I hear frequently. I can easily rattle off several reasons:

Sharing stories encourages a closer, more meaningful relationship with your children and #grandchildren. #Family stories are worth telling because you may be able to describe people, times and places that no one else in the family knows about. Lastly, you can help the next generation—inspiring, teaching and modeling strength and courage for them.   www.lifebio.com

Although these are three very good reasons to tell your life story, you should also consider what happens if you don't tell your story. What is lost?

Here are three very important things that evaporate when family stories are not shared.

1. Relationships

Do you really know your parents and grandparents? One woman I worked with, Donna, didn't even know her mother's real first name until she interviewed her. She also felt a new connection to her grandfather—someone she had never known—as her mother recounted stories of him.

Genuine family communication has had some setbacks recently. Movies, TV, computers, video games, iPods and the radio have made family time more difficult to eke out and made it less likely that children will have opportunities to talk with older relatives.

Additionally, family gatherings may seem more and more rushed due to relatives living farther and farther apart.

We have to be intentional about connecting, via the phone or in person, if we can, to be sure the stories and the relationships are not lost. Whether you're a parent or a grandparent, godfather or godmother, uncle or aunt, take the time to tell other family members, particularly the children, who you are, what your family stands for, and how much you care about them.

2. Storytelling Opportunities
When stories aren't recorded, some great #storytelling material is lost. It's easy to read our children or grandchildren storybooks, but think about closing the Dr. Seuss book so you can tell them one of our own!  YOU have an amazing life story to tell!  Know one can tell that unique story but YOU.

I was away on a trip recently and I decided that I wouldn't miss story time with my children that night. So I shared a piece of my life story over the phone. They laughed as I recounted my family's Chicago trip to an exciting international stamp convention (14-year-olds love these kinds of events). All six of us slept in the family station wagon at the most convenient truck stop parking lot and ate Lucky Charms on the tailgate in the morning. Family stories can make for great bedtime or story time material. Reminiscences can contain all the material you need.

3. Values and Beliefs
Stories communicate life experiences and teach the next generation right from wrong. Without family stories, kids miss out on a foundation that could impact them the rest of their lives. Your family could have a long commitment to education or public service or faith. The knowledge of your family's values and beliefs is a foundation for their lives.

As M. Scott Peck pointed out, "Life is difficult." Stories can convey the need for courage when trials and difficulties are encountered. Through stories of war, financial hardships, losses of one kind or another and the larger societal battles over civil and women's rights, our children can see that family members faced and overcame challenges—even death.

Stories can teach how hard work, discipline and strength are needed to accomplish goals.

Real life stories, from your own life and the life of your grandparents and parents, could have a huge impact on the lives of your children and grandchildren as well as future generations. It's time to close the generation gap. Don't lose or forget your stories.
 
Beth Sanders    Sign up for FREE at www.lifebio.com and get started without delay.  Do your own #biography or capture a parent or grandparent's biography.
 
See #gift ideas at this link.... a Memory Journal or Life Story Journal is the perfect gift that keeps on giving  http://secure.lifebio.com/

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Volunteer programs for hospice volunteers

One of the challenges that hospices face is finding a simple to manage way of promoting engagement between #hospice #volunteers and clients.  One of the best ways for people to connect is through life stories.  "Tell me about your life" is such a simple but profound question to ask. However, it is sometimes difficult to answer because life is complex and there are so many aspects to cover.  For those in hospice care, time is of the essence to tell the story--in his/her own words--before it may be too late.  So hospice volunteers can play a vital role in asking the right questions to bring out the rich stories that older adults and really people of ages can share. 

Imagine hospice volunteers sitting with a patient for even 30 minutes and building a profile of this person's life in the private and secure LifeBio system.  Just with an iPad or laptop and internet access, a simple "About Me" template online can help start the conversations between volunteers and clients.  Another great thing is being able to see what volunteers are doing -- and who they are partnering with in easy reports available from LifeBio.  The biography unfolds and can be printed out.  There is a record online of what was created -- just in case close family wants a copy of the story someday soon. 

Consider bringing life stories into your program, but look at ways to NOT do this in a manual way.  LifeBio makes it easy to get something done....so there are no regrets later.  An obituary is too little too late.  When possible, the biography is a much better option.

www.lifebio.com/health   Licensing is available for hospice providers around the world.
937-303-4576 or 1-866-LIFEBIO
info@lifebio.com

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Memory cues for Alzheimer's patients

One of the key outcomes of gathering life stories from a person with early-stage Alzheimer's Disease or the outcome of gathering life stories by interviewing a close family member to the client with Alzheimer's Disease is....having the essential memory cues to continue to connect and have meaningful conversation.  

It can be as simple as gathering 10-12 points of life story data in order to have the right information to remind him or her of details of his/her life's work or childhood memories or education experiences or interesting vacations.  With #alzheimersdisease, it is important to do what we can to know the whole person.  Too often, people's abilities (especially for ongoing conversation) are discounted by the caregivers around them.  With memory cues gathered (while we have the CHANCE), there is no reason that engagement can't happen more routinely and in a richer manner.

LifeBio captures life stories in health care and senior care settings. 
www.lifebio.com/health

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Experiential Model of Care -- Gathering the Life Story is Step 1

"Nonpharmacological Interventions Key To Model"

"The essential element in making the experiential model work is transforming the mindset of the residence’s staff from a medical/institutional viewpoint to one that prioritizes building meaningful relationships with each resident and partnering with the resident in each caregiving event and activity of the day.

This requires consistent staffing, the elimination of agency staffing, and incorporating meaningful communication between two people—resident and care partner (a term that implies a two-way street in which residents participate in their own care, rather than the term “caregiver,” which implies all the giving occurs on the provider’s side)—who are getting to know and trust each other.

It’s only when the care partner really understands the resident—including history, current views and preferences, spirituality and values, and what tends to trigger anger or unhappiness—and gains the person’s trust that effective, nonpharmacological interventions can take place. All people are more likely to open up about what they’re really feeling to a friend than to a stranger."

Read the whole article from Provider Magazine here....http://www.providermagazine.com/archives/archives-2012/Pages/0912/Bridging-The-Gap-In-Dementia-Care.aspx#magazine-article

Learn more about how to gather the life story and how to make sure it is an engaging experience that builds meaningful relationships for older adults in senior care or health care settings.   www.lifebio.com/health

Friday, February 15, 2013

Improving Mental Health in Long Term Care and Hospitals Using Reminiscence Therapy

Health insurers are increasingly being measured for their ability to improve or maintain #mentalhealth.  With the growth of #accountable care organizations, the five star quality ratings, and the coming together of insurers, hospitals, physician groups, and senior care providers, it is important to note that health insurers have a key measurement from Medicare to improve or maintain mental health of patients.  Organizations that want to meet the needs of health insurers will want to be sure they are keeping this on the radar.  One great way to impact mental health is being using reminiscence therapy.   LifeBio's approach for reminiscence therapy makes it possible to have patients share about their past memories and experiences.  Not only is this good background knowledge (promoting listening between care providers and older adults -- to improve the patient experience), but it is also a great way to increase satisfaction with life, improve cognition, and build self esteem in patients.  Whether it is just a few memory prompting questions or filling out a Life Story Guide (20 questions), using the person's life story to relate better is very effective. 

LifeBio partners with senior care and health care to provide mental health solutions using reminiscence.  Someone's life story is one of the very best way to connect and improve communication and the patient experience.  We have an online way of gathering biographical data or Life Story Journals that can be used to learn more.  Group sessions or one-on-one visits are all possibilities.   Call 1-866-LIFEBIO or 937-303-4576 or email info@lifebio.com or visit....
www.lifebio.com/health

Away We Go....60 and Counting is a New Blog

http://60andcountingdotnet.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/away-we-go/

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gathering Memories for a Grandparent's Birthday

Have you ever wanted to pull together a memory book with just stories, and memories, and photos to give to a grandma or grandpa for an important birthday?  How 'bout a memory book for your parents' or grandparents' anniversary?  Maybe it's a 90th birthday. Maybe it is a 50th wedding anniversary.  It's always been a lot of work to trade emails back and forth to pull together a group's photos and memories for these special events.  Also, you may have wanted a low cost way of doing it so that everyone can just print out the document or you can email them a PDF of the memory book. 

Now LifeBio is making all of this easy.  Inside www.lifebio.com there is a "chapter" called Stories & Memories that allows families to work together to gather stories and memories!  You can upload photos and even audio and video to complement the story.  Just have your family login to your LifeBio account and everyone can work together to build a memory book for that special birthday, anniversary, or even a family reunion! 

You'll love the fact that you can bring together at least 100 stories -- just assign family members a number or a group of numbers.  They can type in their memories and then save under their number/numbers.  So maybe brother Bill is assigned numbers 1-5 and sister Sharon is assigned number 6-10 to share 5 memories each.  As the book comes together, everyone's memories will be there in an orderly way with photos, stories, and remembrances that will be PRICELESS. 

Just click preview and print and the whole thing will come together with a beautiful border of your choice on the page.  The text can be long or short (not just a caption) and LifeBio will enable the text to wrap around the pictures automatically. 

So instead of fighting with your word processor or trying to fit what you'd really like to say into the captions in a photo book, use www.lifebio.com and have all the tools you need to create an incredible book of family memories.   Use the power of the internet to bring everyone together. 

www.lifebio.com    More questions? Call 1-866-543-3246 or email info@lifebio.com

Monday, January 07, 2013

5 Tips for Writing an Autobiography

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.

Sign up for a free and start your autobiography today....or interview a parent or grandparent without delay.

 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.

Please see more at our online autobiography template....
It's time to tell your story  TM

www.lifebio.com

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Reminiscence Therapy for People with Dementia

Consider using reminiscence therapy with people who have Alzheimer's Disease or other forms of dementia. Many long-term memories are still intact. 

In a recent discussion at the Mayo Clinic, the impact of reminiscence on mood was discussed, and initial observations are that reminiscence has the power to improve mood and touch people's emotions in a very positive way. 

Reminiscence is an area where people with memory loss (Alzheimer's Disease or vascular dementia) may have success in recalling their oldest memories without too much difficulty. It is common for people to feel a sense of validation and enjoy remembering things that they CAN remember effectively. It is key to be deeply listening to a person as they recall what matters most. There is a sense of peace and joy that I've seen when older adults have the ability to go to a place like their childhood home or the family farm -- in their mind -- to share a few sweet memories from those days.  In many cases, they are reminded of the love of parents and grandparents which also contributes to improved wellbeing.  

Using old photos or reading back stories that have been recorded already (please write things down or feel free to use www.lifebio.com to create even a short biography of the person) can stimulate the hippocampus area of the brain while allowing family and friends to have a GREAT connection point for conversations that matter.  

Frankly, one of the biggest issues is moving away from talking about the weather, health, sports, and food.....to discussions that matter so much more.  Who their childhood friends were and the games they played....a long ago vacation...a first job....a favorite car...a wonderful time they had with their own grandmother or grandfather many years ago.

The power of memories should not be discounted or ignored -- especially by those in long-term care settings (skilled nursing), memory care providers, or neurologists serving a geriatric population. Here are two excellent ways to connect with people and their families when there is concern about memory loss...

1) Create an "About Me" online using www.lifebio.com.  This private secure web-based account has a simple template inside that will generate a beautiful biography for the person.  This biography can be referenced for months or years to come by the person with dementia, the staff or caregivers around them, and their own family. (Licensed LifeBio Authorized Organizations also receive "About Me" booklets in hardcopy form to provide to seniors and their families to gather the life story in more depth without difficulty or delay).   

2) In the earliest phases, use the Memory Journal to give you a deep understanding of the person's life story. Record without delay.

3) Make MemoryBio available for professional caregivers and family caregivers to use. There are over 200 photos inside MemoryBio on 35 common themes of life.  This is a "universal" photo album and it makes it so simple to visit when you have something to talk about.  It could be the picture of the airplane (and the questions that go along with it that are provided), canned green beans, a man driving a tractor, a family at a birthday party, or a picture of marching band members that really CONNECTS with the person that day.  Because it is sometimes so difficult even for family members to visit, providing MemoryBio as a resource can make all the difference in how well that visit goes. Contact LifeBio below for info and pricing on MemoryBio for your organization or family.

4) Get in touch.  For more information on using reminiscence therapy, please contact LifeBio at 937-303-4576 or email info@lifebio.com.  You can also learn more about LifeBio's work in senior care and health care settings by visiting www.lifebio.com.  LifeBio works with the Mayo Clinic and hundreds of providers nationwide. 

When You Need Help..LifeBio Phone Interviews to the Rescue

LifeBio's Phone Interview service is becoming more popular as families realize that they WANT the biography of a parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle recorded, but they don't seem to have the time or there are other reasons why they would rather not be the one asking the life story questions.  

LifeBio also works with health care providers to systematically record the life stories of their clients, residents, or patients through a carefully-organized Phone Interview process.   Over a series of three interviews, LifeBio gathers some key information about the person's life.  Then this information is transcribed, edited, and provided back to the person.  The new knowledge gained from the interviews can then be used by providers to personalize service and care more....especially for people facing cognitive challenges or Alzheimer's Disease. 

When memory loss is possible, it is both urgent and important to capture the voice and the memories of an amazing, extraordinary person and having LifeBio's help to create a detailed memory book can make all the difference.  This information should no longer be lost or forgotten.  

For more information, please email info@lifebio.com to request more information. 

They Know Me. They Remember Who I Am.


“They know me,” she says proudly when we sit down to talk.  “They remember who I am.”

As I meet and visit with people with memory loss, it is apparent that there is great comfort in being deeply known.  We all want to be known and remembered by the people around us each day.  We want to be reminded that our lives have significance and meaning. We have things to contribute. 

If someone has lived to age 80, there is undoubtedly a myriad of experiences that have happened----growing up, work, love, marriage, history’s impact, beliefs, hobbies, friendships, lessons and much more.  No one is the same. Every person has a unique and fascinating life story. 

So how do we know someone deeply?  What is the key knowledge that matters? 

Especially for people with Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia, details matter.  The biographical facts of family matter, but, more importantly, the details of this person’s life experience are critical information to know if possible. Ideally, if a person is still living independently and remembering things well, that is the perfect time to ensure the life story is recorded. Sometimes the family will have to recall the story as best they can.

The life story is not a “nice to have” document – it is essential to delivering quality. If memory loss begins and progresses, the details of his or her life story would serve as the primary guide for service and care. Here’s an example. 

When Esther was a little girl, she had a horse named Slippers.  She would ride Slippers and gather arrowheads with her sister in the hills of Colorado.   To Esther, the word “Slippers” doesn’t mean something you wear on your feet.  In her mind, she hears that word and her long-term memory takes her back in the hills again as an eight-year-old girl on her favorite horse, Slippers.

Would it make a difference if you knew these details about Esther’s life?  How would it change your relationship to her?  What if you placed an arrowhead in her hand and she smiled? What if you took time to look through a book with pictures of horses?  What if you took a drive into the hills on a beautiful afternoon or visited a horse farm or brought in saddles to touch?  All of these things would bring meaning to a woman who vividly remembers her childhood, but lacks the ability to tell you what day of the week it is.

Esther’s story must be deeply known, by those around her, to know what will bring meaning to her day. And that’s where the life story or biography kicks in. In innovative organizations, the unique life story guides the personalization of care and leads to the perfect kinds of “in the moment” activities that are very simple but meaningful.  Today, you and Esther decided to sit down and look at a book of horse pictures together, and you’ll remember the way she pointed and smiled and laughed. It was remarkable how connected you felt to each other. You’ll know it was just the perfect thing to do.

But it all starts with knowing the life story. The details of each person’s unique past are the greatest way to truly connect – a bridge to real, authentic engagement….and person-centered care…and love. People with memory loss need to feel your love.  

 “They know me. They remember who I am.”
Which really means…  ”My life matters, and they love me.”

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Beth Sanders is Founder & CEO of LifeBio which serves senior care and health care nationwide. LifeBio Health captures life stories and promotes better health through reminiscence.  For more information, email info@lifebio.com or call 937-303-4576. www.lifebio.com