What is Life Story Work?

  • It is a way of communicating with a person who has dementia (and their family carers) about their life
  • It involves finding out what was important to the person in terms of their memories, experiences, life events, values, beliefs, superstitions…
  • It is about recording that information in a way that is negotiated between the person who has dementia (and their family carers)
  • It means using that information with the person in everyday communication and care activities
  • It’s an ongoing process of discovery

There are many ways that a person’ life story can be recorded. Examples include life story books, ‘pen picture’, memory box, collage, photo-story boards, web page…

Life story work can be used in different ways by a person with dementia, by family carers and by care staff.  Examples include:

For the Person with dementia

  • For the person with dementia to tell their story – as a way to be heard or as an enjoyable activity to recall and record their life.
  • As a legacy to be passed on to future generations
  • A means of ‘putting one’s life in order’ or ‘setting the record straight’

For family carers of a person who has dementia

  • As an enjoyable activity to work together with the person who has dementia
  • As a therapeutic activity or intervention for family members of a person who has dementia

For staff working with a person who has dementia and their family

  • As an activity or intervention to use with person with dementia as part of care
  • As a way to enable staff to understand and care for the person who has dementia
  • As a way of expressing the experience of having dementia  / and or experience of services
  • To inform others about the person who has dementia and to assist in moves between care environment

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