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The Power of Life Stories in Health Care

Every person has a story to tell. Storytelling is something we have experienced around the kitchen table or a warm campfire. Tales of great joy, tragedy, adventure, or love are told as we share our own human experiences with each other. Narrative and reminiscing are appropriate and useful in health care (narrative medicine, narrative care, humanities in medicine). It is also useful in daily life because: 1) Nearly anyone can participate in life review; 2) Life stories can help with a positive sense of identity; and 3) As people reach the end of their lives, it can result in integrity and reconciliation (Kenyon, et al. 2011, p. 291-292). It is especially helpful in the lives of older people as psychiatrist Dr. Robert Butler first documented in 1963; it comes naturally to reminisce with the familiarity and comfort of sharing about one’s past experiences, especially as people reach into their 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and beyond.

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How to Connect and Consider Special Circumstances Over the Holidays

Traditions are the handing down of beliefs or cultures through the generations. Sometimes we strictly adhere to traditions, while other times our traditions may evolve throughout time. Perhaps your family has a tradition of making pie or some other secret recipe for a holiday gathering. If it is a recipe your whole family loves, you may choose to leave it the exact same year after year. However, maybe in trying to be a little healthier one year your mother changed the recipe to stop using lard and instead substitute unsalted butter. The pie crust still tasted wonderful, and the tradition held but with a slightly tweaked recipe.

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Social Engagement Can Link to Better Brain Health

How social are you? Do you live with or regularly see other people? Do you socialize with friends or loved ones outside of your work environment? Do you regularly talk to people on the telephone or via videoconference? Do you enjoy meeting new people or learning new things about others? Does how social a person chooses to be really matter?

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With Gratitude

Gratitude comes from the Latin word gratia, meaning grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. In English, gratitude means the quality of being thankful or showing appreciation for what one has. Having gratitude generally recognizes that goodness lies at least in part outside of oneself, so thankfulness can help connect people to someone or something outside of themselves.

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National Family Caregivers Month

November is National Caregivers Month, a time to recognize, celebrate, and honor family caregivers. Caregivers are everyday heroes who live amongst us. They serve selflessly and often make sacrifices. Family caregivers devote countless hours to care for loved ones, and they humbly help keep families and communities strong.

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In 1960, Bill's Dad Took Him to Enlist

“When I turned 18, my dad asked me which branch of the military I wanted to join. He took me to enlist in the Air Force in 1960, and I was discharged in 1969. I served all over the world. My boot camp was at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. I did data processing during my time in the military, with additional assignments.

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The Day After Graduation

I enlisted a day after I graduated from high school. I chose the Army because I knew if I went in the Navy, I would get seasick, so the Navy was not a good choice for me. My vision wasn't good, so flying was not for me either. I believed enlisting was the responsibility of anyone physically able to serve their country.

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LifeBio Uses Artificial Intelligence to Make Connections

LifeBio is partnering with researchers from the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging to use A.I. in order to connect with and improve quality of care for elders. Together they have been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Aging to develop and test an online platform which will facilitate life story work for individuals living with dementia.

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Research Roundup on Reminiscence and Life Review

For thousands of years, people from diverse cultures around the world have passed on their traditions, beliefs, and advice through the telling of stories. When writing a life story, writing an autobiography, or sharing some key memories with family or friends, stories…

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Do you remember?

Memories matter. They help us remember and keep alive those who may no longer be active parts of our lives. They may allow us to honor the memory of loved ones who have passed away. They help us share our own legacy, so that others will remember us and our spirit. They help pass down our culture and traditions. They more deeply connect us with other people. They are part of us and can show how we think and what we value. Memories are worth remembering.

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