Getting to Know the Life Stories of Older Adults

Activities for Building Relationships

By Kathy Laurenhue

ISBN 978-1-932529-25-8
216 pages
with CD-ROM
8.5 x 11 layflat
© 2007

(5 customer reviews)


Positive relationships begin with people enjoying one another. This fresh look at reminiscence uses fun-filled, lively activities to help people laugh with, as well as learn from, each other. The engaging program will foster understanding and build a sense of community through meaningful interaction.

Nine in-depth group exercises and more than 30 informal mini-exercises cover broad topics such as individuals’ backgrounds, personal preferences, and social history. Games, discussion, storytelling, and other interactive methods are used to reveal participants’ unique characteristics, experiences, and interests. Substantial benefits will result, including

  • expanded self-awareness and self-esteem
  • strengthened relationships among participants, families, and caregivers
  • disclosure of useful information for personalizing care
  • enhanced brain functioning

Appropriate for people of all ages, but aimed particularly at older adults, these activities can be used in long-term care settings, assisted living facilities, adult day centers, and senior centers. The exercises can also be adapted for one-on-one use in home or community settings and used with intergenerational groups.

Each main exercise is completely scripted and easy-to-implement with minimal preparation. The manual also includes adaptations for people with dementia, additional resource lists, and a CD-ROM with printable handouts.

Every person is unique—use these activities to discover, celebrate, and benefit from the experience and individuality of older adults.

Getting to Know the Life Stories of Older Adults (Table of Contents)

Getting to Know the Life Stories of Older Adults: Activities for Building Relationships (Laurenhue Excerpt)… by Health Professions Press

Kathy Laurenhue is CEO of Wiser Now, Inc., a multimedia publishing and staff development company that emphasizes well-being in aging by providing practical solutions in a lighthearted way.

Kathy has a master’s degree in instructional technology (multimedia training) and an undergraduate degree in English. As a Certified Humor Professional, she is a graduate of and advisor to the Humor Academy that is part of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH).

In addition to the titles she has written for Health Professions Press, she is the author of a companion set of books on Alzheimer’s disease, and a word game puzzle book called What’s Left? – Holidays and Seasons, and Creating Delight – Connecting Gratitude, Humor and Play, which sums up her work and life goals. She has also created more than a thousand trivia quizzes, word games, discussion topics and imaginative/reminiscence exercises currently being updated and made available as downloadable slide shows on her website and as individual exercises for various clients. She also gives monthly webinars to activity professionals.

You can visit her website at

5 reviews for Getting to Know the Life Stories of Older Adults

  1. admin

    “An invaluable and excellent resource … the author has thoroughly prepared the readers to understand and conduct group and individual sessions that are meant to be fun, interesting, and energizing.”
    -Creative Forecasting

  2. admin

    “This delightful book will be an invaluable resource for elder care and Alzheimer’s programs. Beautifully written by one of the most respected authorities on activity programming, the book gives family and professional caregivers a wealth of tools and exercises to build a caring relationship and to reminisce about good times. The book will bring smiles to any reader and help employees in residential, day or in home settings experience more success in their daily interactions with residents. Highly recommended.”
    -David Troxel, M.P.H., co-author, The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care

  3. admin

    “A rich resource with uncommon versatility. The author’s theme throughout this book is the central role of relationships and human interactions as the foundation of care. Laurenhue offers many ways to begin communication that invites us to share life stories, and the many practical real-world examples serve as a blueprint for how to engage others in the process of sharing meaningful life experiences.”
    -Dorothy Seman, R.N., M.S., Clinical Coordinator, Home and Community Based Care Programs, Jesse Brown VA, Chicago, IL

  4. admin

    “This book is a wonderful resource for anyone who cares for older adults–home health aides, activity professionals, volunteers, residential care staff, and family members. But it has broader uses, as many of these topics can be used across generations … I can also see using some of these sessions at family gatherings as way to get the different generations in my family to talk to one another around a central topic.”
    -Melanie Chavin, M.S., author of The Lost Chord: Reaching the Person with Dementia Through the Power of Music

  5. admin

    “The detail in this book will serve activity therapists and all those who work with older people very well. It is a font of information and the exercises all look like fun. This book is a valuable asset, stuffed with facts, for those wanting to practice reminiscence with people of any age.”
    – Barbara K. Haight, R.N.C,, DrPH,, FAAN, Professor Emeritus, College of Nursing, Medical University of South Carolina

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