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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Life Story Writing or Telling Provides Memory Retrieval Exercise for Seniors

Anthropologist Myla Colllier, San Luis Obispo, California explains that life story telling or writing provides memory retrieval exercise for seniors. It is an opportunity to record or write an autobiography, research ancestors, and enjoy studying historical events.

Sharpening memory by using old photographs, letters and souvenirs is beneficial and caregivers can help by providing questions, scrapbooks and historical events that "nudge" old memories back to the surface.

As a caregiver I have an interesting time when seniors are remembering life and historical events that they experienced.

Classes for seniors in life story and genealogy (reseaching ancestors) are popular. While many adult emeritus or adult community classes are often held at colleges and off campus locations, now assisted care senior facilities are joining up with local community educational programs to have instructors give classes there too.

Genealogy Clubs are available in many towns and members can share research techniques, meet for classes, and meet new friends.

A typical class in our community may take 8 weeks, several hours per class, and cover a different stage of life from early childhood to middle years and beyond at each meeting. Historical events and life events can be linked. For example, a senior might recall moving to California during the Great Depression of the 1930's.

Many websites have life history and genealogy guides and research available.

In San Luis Obispo County, California, Cuesta College Emeritus presents a variety of Life Story classes.

Instructor Myla Collier, an Anthropologist, provides a lively discussion group with weekly readings by the participants, steps to improve memory retrieval, and ways to organize the life history information.

For information you can call Myla Colllier at (805) 543-9514. Elsewhere you can check your local community activities or go to or one of the many other life history and genealogy websites.

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