We all have memories that we hold on dearly to; but individuals with dementia may find it impossible to recollect them, which may be quite painful. That’s where Life Story work comes into action!
Life Story work often entails assisting individuals in the creation of a record of certain elements of their lives, most frequently in the form of a book or template, with the goal of eliciting happy memories and bringing joy.
What does Life Story entail?
Our life experiences determine who we are as people, and this helps others comprehend who we are. Due to memory loss and communication challenges, people with dementia may require assistance in communicating crucial parts of their identity, such as their background, hobbies, and who/what is important to them.
Life Story work is an activity in which professionals and family members assist a person with dementia in gathering and reviewing their prior life events in order to create a personal biography. It is used to assist a person in comprehending their prior experiences and how they have dealt with life situations.
What are the advantages of working on a Life Story?
- It can aid dementia patients in sharing their memories; thus enhancing their sense of self.
- Work on a person’s life story can aid in improved communication and understanding of their needs and desires. This can help them to better understand their care and ensure that it is delivered in a positive and person-centered manner.
- Sharing memories with family caregivers and professionals might help the individual form closer bonds with them.
- There are templates for putting complete Life Story booklets. Staff utilize this framework to assist them in providing person-centered care. This is a collaborative effort with family and friends, with a focus on using visuals and photographs to bring the life story book to life.
Creating a Life Story will help:
- You can create stronger bonds with others by writing your life story. This way, family members can form a stronger link with the person with dementia.
- Provide professional caretakers a greater grasp of the person’s lives and needs, allowing them to interact with and care for them in the best possible way
- Staff at hospitals and care homes will be able to better comprehend and interact with the people they are caring for.
What is the best way to write a life story?
- When developing a Life Story, include the person with dementia as much as possible in the process. This increases the likelihood that the Life Story will represent the person’s wants and preferences, as well as their sense of ownership. Talk with them, offer assistance as required, and write (or type) the material together so they can see the tale unfolding alongside you.
- Allow the person to talk about whichever element of their life they’re most comfortable with. You are not required to start from the very beginning. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, focus on one issue at a time. Take pauses and finish the narrative at your own leisure; it may take days, weeks, or months to complete. Keep in mind that you may always add to it later.
- Other family members and acquaintances may be able to contribute essential information if someone finds it difficult to explain their life narrative. You might also try to elicit responses from them by showing them photographs of individuals or locations they are familiar with.
- Reflecting on our life may be an emotional experience, therefore caution is advised. Don’t be scared to do so, but consider what information the individual would like to disclose.