Getting to Know the Life Stories of Older Adults

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 5 customer ratings
(5 customer reviews)


Activities for Building Relationships

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

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, M.A.

Kathy Laurenhue, M.A., is CEO of Wiser Now, Inc., a company focused on training and product and curriculum development related to older adults, with an emphasis on positive mind stimulation, life stories, dementia, and caregiving. For the past 15 years, Kathy has given training seminars throughout the United States and Australia, and has developed multi-media training materials for national companies in both countries. 

In the 1990s, Kathy was president of Better Directions, Inc., a multi-media training company that emphasized a practical, but light-hearted approach to Alzheimer’s care. She was also the editor of Wiser Now, an international award-winning monthly newsletter for Alzheimer’s caregivers.

Her interest in life stories began in the early 1970s as she began interviewing relatives to try to make sense of her father’s complicated genealogy. This was followed by a home business of writing the life stories of others, teaching life stories through the local community college, leading programming sessions in long-term care, and ultimately writing Getting to Know the Life Stories of Older Adults.

Kathy has a master’s degree in instructional technology and an undergraduate degree in English and journalism. She began putting these skills to work in the field of dementia while serving as the primary caregiver for her ever-cheerful mother, who died of Alzheimer’s disease in 1996.

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

  1. Rated 5 out of 5


    “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. Rated 5 out of 5


    “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. Rated 5 out of 5


    “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. Rated 5 out of 5


    “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. Rated 5 out of 5


    “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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