LEC underscores the value of encouraging residents to share their life stories

‘It’s their little life stories, and telling them can have a therapeutic benefit’

Last year, Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Christina Doughty helped a resident of the Cobourg long-term care home, whom we will call Sally, tell her story of what life is like living with Alzheimer’s.

Over the period of six weeks, Christina relayed Sally’s story to The OMNIway, which, at Sally’s request, was published in weekly intervals.

Christina says a big take-away from that experience for her was the value of storytelling and how it can help people affected by cognitive impairment.

Since doing the Sally’s Story series, Christina and other life enrichment department team members have tried the approach with other residents who have responded well.

“It’s just spending that one-to-one time getting to know the resident and getting to know who they were before they came (to long-term care),” Christina says.

“If they’re able to tell us pieces from their memories, we will engage them with that the next time we sit down with them.”

By spending one-to-one time with residents and asking them to share their stories, Christina says she’s learning more about the residents.

By telling stories about growing up with little money during the Great Depression or about what life was like during the Second World War, Christina says residents are opening up about their lives.

“We have some fantastic residents here, and if you take the time to talk to them you can find a lot of things out,” the LEC says.

“It’s their little life stories, and telling them can have a therapeutic benefit.”

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