29 Jun July 2021 – Case Manager
Posted at 13:20h in Case Notes
Writing Your Life Story
Do you have stories or wisdom that you have always wanted to share with your family, but life always feels too busy? Writing your life story can be a great way to pass down stories, wisdom and lessons of your life to your loved ones. Sharing a life story is an amazing gift to give your family.
Additionally, it can be an incredible journey for yourself to experience! Historically, elders passed everything from wisdom to life lessons to recipes to younger generations. Since the arrival of modern technology, people rely less on elders or family for information and more on books, media and the internet. While sometimes more convenient, there may be so much lost wisdom and sometimes entertainment, by this process.
My maternal grandmother died in August 2019. Grama Babs moved to Madison at the age of 90 after living most of her life in Chicago. Even with being a close-knit family, with almost all of our family within two hours of each other, I had found myself seeing my grandmother a lot less since starting my own family and career. The reason she moved was to be closer to family for support. What we didn’t know at that time is what we would gain from having her so close. I am so grateful for the time I got to spend with her during those six years she lived in Madison. Had I not had this time with her, I may have never known that she was a published author!
One day out of the blue, Grama Babs shared with me that she used to write poems and read or sing them to my grandfather every morning after he became ill. After her collection grew, she published a book of her best poems. I would probably not be able to identify most of the people in her collection of old photographs or know that it looks much tidier to cut pieces of wax paper the size of a cookie tin by tracing the lid. I finally also heard the story of why Grama Babs doesn’t like horses and was reminded of her life-long love of pigs, playing games, reading novels and baking cookies.
Writing your life story can be a very powerful process. You may even feel a renewed sense of purpose or relationship with yourself along the way. You may also find forgiveness or a sense of gratitude you had not recognized before. One’s life story can be handwritten, typed, videotaped, blogged, made into a scrapbook or a piece of artwork. The process of getting started often includes diving into old photographs, reading old letters or baking family recipes. Doing these things will jog memories of your life. This project could take several weeks or even months depending on how detailed you are.
Check out the list on page 15 for tips on getting started and benefits to writing your life story.
Writing Your Life Story – Tips for getting started:
1. Plan time to look at old photographs, read old letters, prepare a family recipe or spend time doing anything that you have enjoyed during your life that may jog memories. Have paper and pen nearby to jot down notes to yourself.
2. Think about what format you want to use to share your story. Examples: written, typed, video, a box of photos with notes on the back, a scrapbook or some sort of artwork.
3. Consider how you will break down chapters or sections of your life; this will be your framework. Examples: decades based on your age (such as age 1-10, age 11-20, etc.), addresses or cities where you lived (444 Main Street or Denver, Colorado), developmental time periods (such as childhood, teen, young adult, married life, married with family and empty nesters).
4. Ask yourself specific questions for each chapter or section. Examples: What were you doing? Where did you live? Who did you live with? Who were you close to? What did you enjoy? Did you have pets? What did you like to eat?
5. Consider including information about the world at that time, such as the cost of bread, who was president or historical events.
6. Include lessons learned, how those lessons shaped your life and what your values were at the time. Life lessons are valuable!
7. Reflect and be grateful. Being truly thankful for something can have benefits on your health, your relationships and your attitude!
8. Don’t forget to include the funny or embarrassing stories. We all have them and your family will likely enjoy reading them and may even relate to the situation.
9. Do this project with a friend or group. If you are a social person, you may want to consider getting together with others to reflect, stay motivated and hold each other accountable.
10. Finally, when you are finished, imagine the next chapter. Your life does not end when you are done with this project, so take time to plan your next chapter in life!
Case Management can provide seniors, their families and their caregivers with information as well as short-term support or ongoing case management support and services. Case management provides confidential needs assessments and referrals to appropriate resources.
Case Managers can answer questions about and/or make referrals for:
Nutritious meals, including home-delivered meals
Drug coverage/Medicare Part D
State and county programs – resources and eligibility
Elder abuse or neglect
Caregiver support and resources
Social and recreational programs
Tax assistance (referrals)
For assistance and support, contact Julie at 608-848-0440 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you checked out our patio!? There are tables and chairs and it’s a great place to read a book, journal or just enjoy the outdoors. We also added two gorgeous shade umbrellas! I challenge everyone to spend some time outside every single day. It is guaranteed to make a positive impact on your life.
Julie Larson, Case Manager