This section explains what a life story is and help to create life stories for people with dementia
What is a Life Story
A life story acts as a ‘fact file’ about the person with dementia, such as their background, interests, and who and what is important to them. It can be shared with other people, including family and friends, carers and healthcare professionals.
Learning about someone’s life can give a real insight into how somebody might be feeling. This knowledge then helps us to support someone in a more personalised way. It’s also a great way to develop a relationship and learn some fascinating things.
It can help the person with dementia to reflect on important information about themself and strengthen their sense of identity bring them comfort by reminding them of special memories and other things that are important to them. It can help family and friends to develop a closer bond with the person through the sharing of stories and give health and social care professionals a clearer understanding of the person’s life, their preferences, and how to meet their needs.
How to Create a life Story
When creating a Life Story, involve the person with dementia in the process as fully as possible. This makes the Life Story more likely to reflect the person’s wishes and preferences and encourages a sense of ownership. Talk together, help them where needed, and write or type the information together so they can see the story forming with you.
Go with the flow and let the person talk about an aspect of their life they’re most comfortable with. You don’t have to start at the beginning. Try taking one topic at a time so it doesn’t become overwhelming. Take breaks and complete the story at your own pace; it might take days, weeks, or months. Remember you can always add to it later.
If someone finds it difficult to communicate their life story, other family members and friends may be able to provide key information. You can also try to prompt them by using familiar photos of people or places.
Reflecting on our lives can be emotional so sensitivity is needed. Don’t be afraid of this but think carefully about what information the person would want to be shared.
This is me – Template (PDF)
Life Story – Template (PDF)
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