Tip 2, Life Story Telling

Life Story telling is a very important activity. It’s so important that you should get started…like today? We could write an entire book about the benefits of life review. People light up when they are telling their life story. It helps them to formulate and clarify their life’s purpose, and make peace in their elder years. Recording your loved one’s story creates an artifact to be handed down to future generations.

Listen to your care partner’s story, write it down and then share it with others. By telling a story, and committing it to cassette tape, CD, video, DVD, paper or website, you get a larger view of it and realize its significance. A story can make time disappear. Stories are a wonderful gift for your children or grandchildren.

To break the ice, some good questions to start with are:

  • What was the happiest moment of your life?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
  • What is your earliest memory?
  • How would you like to be remembered?
  • Where were you born, where did you grow up, what did you like doing when you were young?
  • What do you remember about your parents?
  • What are your earliest memories…happiest, saddest memories?
  • What was your military history, life around the wartime? Did you travel? What are some stories about your marriage, etc., etc….?

Please make it a point to start your life review project today.

Family Memories will strengthen the bonds of your family, (your caregiver circle), at a time when it is most important. Gather the entire family…share stories. Some suggestions are vacation memories, holidays, times when your family really “came together,” sibling rivalries and adventures. A terrific tool to use to get the stories started is the question generator at: www.storycorps.org.

Adding photographs will surely enhance the storytelling experience. Pull out an old photo album and expand the experience. Tell stories about the times photos were taken. Write them down (suitably embellished, of course) and include the photos as gifts for grandchildren, nieces, greats, neighbors, whomever! This is a wonderful way to create inexpensive, living, lasting heirlooms.

Add poetry and song to your family narratives. Remember the special songs that you used to sing to your children? They enhance the story…bring it to life. Your children will be delighted if you remember these songs. You can never guess how much the smallest things mean, what memories they can trigger.

The possibilities for life storytelling are truly endless and each is an opportunity for you to show presence, compassion, active listening and the true extent of your caregiver circle. Get out those typewriters! (Or your journal or computer!)

Caregiver Revolution :For families, loved ones and professionals who want to change caregiving into a positive, life affirming experience.

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