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.

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 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

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 there are no regrets later.  An obituary is too little too late.  When possible, the biography is a much better option.   Licensing is available for hospice providers around the world.
937-303-4576 or 1-866-LIFEBIO

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.