Life Story Work can be expressed in numerous ways- apps, photo montages, memory boxes or DVDs. Personally, we’ve found that books are a fantastic medium- they are portable, easily shared, and don’t rely on any other equipment once produced.
If you are interested in some of the academic work that look into the benefits of Life Story Work, we’d highly recommend, a pioneering study led by researchers at the University of York’s Social Policy Research Unit (SPRU)
They categorised Life Story work into 4 types:
1. Chronological: Attempts to accurately record life (from birth to now). Focuses on memories.
2. Narrative: A personal interpretation of life. Emphasises strengths/interests/feelings over ‘facts’.
3. Care focused: Focuses on using life story work in care settings ( to improve care).
4. Hybrid: Narrative approach that can also be applied in care settings.
We've found that a chronological approach is our most popular format- particularly if the book is simply to preserve family history or celebrate a milestone anniversary or birthday.
However, once created, these books also become invaluable tools and resources for future care needs.
Without a crystal ball we have no way of knowing what these needs will be, but Life Story books have been proven to enhance person-centred and dementia care.
If you are interested in the benefits of Life Story work for those with dementia, SPRU have produced a very informative short video:
Dementia UK also have some brilliant resources:
These include dementia-specific templates and further academic research links.