Senior Citizen's Guide to Pittsburgh Fall/Winter Edition 2015-16 - page 10

Say You Saw It in the Senior Citizen’s Guide to Pittsburgh
If a loved one is in hospice care, consider writing
their “life story” to pass down to present and future
generations. At at least one local hospice, materials
are collected through one-on-one interviews between
trained volunteer “story keepers” and their assigned
patients and patients’ family members. The information
is preserved in different formats, from DVDs and
PowerPoint presentations to hard-bound scrapbooks.
Hospice providers who offer the life story service have
volunteer managers who train anyone interested in being
Life Story volunteers and maintain a library of resources
and “best practices”. Reminiscing can improve a patient’s
sense of self-worth and well-being. Life story volunteers
show patients that what they’ve done in their lives is
important. In turn, the volunteers often gain the valuable
wisdom of patients who have experienced a lifetime of
accomplishments and setbacks and, in many cases, lived
and witnessed history.
Preserving Memories in Pittsburgh
At VITAS Hospice in Pittsburgh, Volunteer Manager
Amanda Olson says their volunteers, Stacey and Wil
Christe, spent more than 100 hours creating a Life Story
photo book and binder for one of their patients and
family members.
Stacy, a genealogy enthusiast, researched the
patient’s family to create her family tree. She and
Wil also scanned family photos, took original photos
at cemeteries, found old newspaper clippings about
events pertinent to her life, and talked with her
husband over the course of several visits for personal
Life Story Projects
A Labor of Love
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