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


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.”


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