Life Story Work & Memory Books
Our life experiences shape us as individuals, and this helps others to understand who we are as a person. People with dementia sometimes need help to communicate important aspects of their identity – like background, interests, who and what is important to them – due to problems with memory loss and communication.
Life Story work is an activity in which the person with dementia is supported by our care team and family members to gather and review their past life events and build a personal biography. It is used to help understand the person, their past experiences and how they have coped with events in their life.
What are the Benefits?
Storytelling is a powerful means of communication; stories allow us to build up a picture and a set of values and beliefs about an individual. This work enables the carer to get to know the person better, therefore supporting them in a way that is personal to them. It can help carers to appreciate the person with dementia in the context of their whole life.
Memory books are the stories of a person’s life. It is an aid that can engage the person in meaningful conversations and encourage better communication and an understanding of the person’s needs and wishes. This can help inform their care and ensure it is provided in a positive and person-centred way.
Putting together a memory book based on the person’s life story can be very positive, it can help the individual to feel proud of their life, feel listened to and valued. It can trigger positive memories and can give the person a ‘voice’. It can also help the person develop closer relationships with family and carers through the sharing of stories.
Using memories and pictures can provide comfort, this is especially useful when they are having difficulty in sharing this information themselves.
What does it look like?
We have a memory book template that we use to capture, in words and pictures, information such as significant relationships, social activities and interests, life events, special places and later life. It could also be in the form of a scrapbook or photo album or memory box. This is an interactive activity that can be a lot of fun for both the individual, family and carer.
How to get Involved
alice chilton have designed training sessions for carers to equip them with the skills to build memory books with our clients. If you feel this would be beneficial please contact Michele, our Care Manager, and we can look at incorporating it into the current support or introduce an additional couple of hours each week to work specifically on building a memory book.
Michele Bushell, Care Manager
Tel: 01625 526850