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  • Robin Dynes


Why bother with a life history?

We all like to tell stories of things that happened to us. We do it at get to-gethers with family and friends. There seems to be a need to tell. We sustain our sense of self-identity through the constant retelling of biographical stories. This helps us know who we are, what has shaped out lives and what will enable us to face the future, cope with changes, complexities, uncertainties and anxieties. We reflect on past experience, how we coped and it gives us strength to overcome what is ahead.

One of the main effects of dementia as it progresses is the erosion of a sense of self and who the person is. Helping your loved one put together some sort of life story or history can be a major tool in assisting them preserve that awareness of their identity. There are also many other benefits. These include:

· Being an enjoyable and purposeful hobby in which all the family can get involved

· Increasing the individual’s self-esteem.

· Providing an aid to memory. As the condition progresses it will provide topics for conversation. If they need to go into hospital or care for a short period to give you respite, it will be invaluable for the care staff to get to know the person and encourage more personalised care.

· Helping the individual go through a life review process and give meaning to their experience of life.

· Initiating creative stimulation.

· Promoting interaction and co-operation with others.

· Proving a record of the person’s life and a history to be passed down to other generations.

· Providing you with insights into the person that you have never before been aware of which will help you understand their attitude and behaviour and deal with it as their carer.

Copyright - Robin Dynes April 2020

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