Life Review for the Elderly

I have been working with the elderly for over 7 years, and one of the most important things I’ve learned from people who have been around for a long time is this: Everybody has an amazing story to tell. I would be honored to help you document that story.

In my work with the elderly, especially those who are very old (90+) and are still cognitively alert, I have often heard them express confusion about what their life’s purpose is at their age, given that many of the people they cared about are gone, and they are no longer able to pursue many of their favorite activities. I have an answer for them. I tell them: “Now is the time to tell your story. Your story is amazing. It needs to be documented.”

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“This is my brother, who died in the Battle of the Bulge…”

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“In 1918, Grandpa drove a Model T to Yellowstone…”

Life Review Helps the Elder

Telling their stories can help them to make sense of their lives and to clarify their values and what they want to leave behind for their families or others. Research has shown that reminiscence has a calming and mood-brightening effect on the elderly. Creative documentation can help “settle” unpleasant memories and resolve grief, as well as celebrate and honor the good memories.

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“I never knew before that Grandma was so fashionable…”

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“It must have been hard to grow up during the Depression…”

Life Review Helps the Family

Documenting the complete story of a person’s life can help the person’s family to gain a new perspective on the person and his or her struggles, challenges, and triumphs. Adult children may be surprised to hear about things that happened before they were born, and about ancestors who died before they have a chance to know them. Old pictures come to life and are connected with stories, rather than being discarded after the elder dies because nobody can identify who is in them.

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“We now know who these people are…”

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We now have a better idea of our heritage…”

Life Review Leaves a Legacy

The finished product of creative life review, whether it be a book, a video, a slideshow, or a collection of artworks, will become a treasured heirloom that can be passed down from generation to generation in the family. It can be displayed at the elder’s funeral, giving attendees a fuller picture of the life of the person. Viewing the creative life review finished product can help the family with their grief process after the elder passes away.

Choose Your Method of Creative Life Review

I could coach you in interviewing your elder and creating your finished product yourself…OR

I could work directly with your elder to help him or her to create a finished product…OR

I could interview the elder myself and create a finished product for you.

Let me know how I can best help you in this important work of documenting your elder’s stories. Call (402) 517-1504 to schedule an appointment.

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A Special Project for Elders with Dementia

When my mother sustained a brain injury in a car accident, and then afterward developed dementia, she had trouble telling her story. She remembered facts, but the facts became garbled in her mind. I created for her a simple book that told the basic story of her life, starting with the marriage of her parents, and continuing to the present. She carried the book with her everywhere, and it became a wonderful thing to look through with her during my visits to the assisted living facility where she lived. After she passed away, I found the book in the tote bag she always kept on her walker.

If you have an elderly family member with dementia, I can help you to create a simple life review book from old pictures and the history you give about the elder’s life. The book would make a lovely gift for your family member, as well as a treasured keepsake for after he or she is gone.

Call (402) 517-1504 for an appointment.

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