Our Stories Are Us offers recently diagnosed individuals exhibiting signs of dementia and their families an opportunity to connect in a structured, meaningful, loving and caring way.
Humans connecting with humans is the underlying value proposition of Our Stories Are Us as family members work together to document the family experience. This makes it an important tool for the entire family from the moment a diagnosis is confirmed or suspected and potentially all the way through the later stages.
Early Onset Dementia and inter-generational bonding:
It is important to note that OurStoriesAreUs.com is not designed to just capture stories of a newly diagnosed dementia patient before their memories fade. This can look like an act of desperation. Rather, we offer an opportunity for a family to share each other’s stories. An example might be a grandchild asking the elderly adult what their life was like when they were their age. And the elderly asking the child about their experiences. An equal exchange results in each party learning more about the the other – strengthening the bond and creating new memories.
The family perspective: A diagnosis of early onset Alzheimers is traumatic for the entire family. Everyone is at a loss as to how to interact naturally. Younger family members (who enjoy using computer technology) greatly benefit from a computer based structured, project oriented approach to interacting with the older adult in a meaningful and personal way.
Our interview questionnaire generator, along with and a step by step story creation guide provides a meaningful engagement as the younger family member learns about the life and times of their older relative and helps them record that history leaving a legacy for generations.
Individuals with memory loss: Capturing stories of an elderly adult’s life experiences can provide a comfort level knowing that their life and contributions will not be forgotten. As family members work with them to document their stories has the added benefit of providing a sense of purpose, value and dignity during a trying time, knowing they are still important and are creating something for others.
The time spent together during a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s builds a stronger emotional connection which will be important as the disease advances to later stages.
This page was co-authored by Jeannine Forrest, Ph.D., R.N., CHPN, dementia educator / researcher (learn more about Jeannine at www.ThroughTheForrest.com) and Ken Bredemeier founder of Our Stories Are Us. I