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The Life Story Team

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About Us

Rachel Lewis

Founder of The Life Story Team


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My Story

Our family has always valued life stories- when my Gran shared her photos and the stories behind them, it was inspirational, and I loved feeling part of something bigger. Sadly when Gran was diagnosed with dementia, we lost so many of those important stories as they were never written down or celebrated.


We, therefore, made the effort to record my Grandad's story and soon realised it wasn't just about capturing family history, but it was a therapeutic, creative and fun process for everyone involved.


These experiences inspired me to help other people write their stories. After a few years, I fully realised the importance of these books when I supported people with a life-changing diagnosis and others who were receiving care.


I, therefore, started to look into the academic research behind Life Story work, and the evidence was clear that these books do make a real difference in person-centred care and well-being.


So the next chapter of my story began- creating an affordable, accessible and socially responsible business to offer the benefits of Life Story Books to all...





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Our Values

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Recognition

Respect

Connections

Quality of Life

We work to boost esteem and

self-identity

Nobody should be defined by a diagnosis or stage in life

Connecting friends, family and carers helps combat loneliness and social isolation

These creative wellbeing projects are therapeutic and can lead to better person-centered care

Our Mission Statement

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We are on a mission to give everyone the opportunity to share their story.


We passionately believe that every life is a story of value and everyone deserves to be supported and helped in creating Life Story Books.


These books are a recognition and celebration of the past, a therapeutic and creative project in the present, and an investment in person-centred care for the future.

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Impacts and Outcomes

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Cognitive

Function

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Man and Social Connections

Social

Connection

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Wellbeing

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Self

Esteem

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Relationships

Self

identity

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Helping Mum create a Life Story Book really helped me when I became her full-time carer. It was a lovely stroll down memory lane, and I enjoyed learning more about our family history.


However, the most important thing was that it made me feel more compassionate and patient. Seeing her whole life in this way, not just her old age and illness, made caring for her so much easier. It was a great boredom- buster for her, and I felt less alone working to create her book as part of a team.



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Who we help

If you run a community project, please do get in touch about running a bespoke Life Story Workshop. Research shows that everyone can benefit from the process of creating a book. However, there are certain groups of people who really benefit from these books:


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Older people


Dementia Diagnosis


Family Carers


Care Homes

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End-of-Life Planning


Learning Disabilities


Inter-generational work


Creative Community projects


What needs we address

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  • Loneliness
  • Loss of memory
  • Community Connection
  • End of life planning
  • Person-centered Care
  • Well-being
  • Inter-generational resilience
  • Social isolation

Process or Production?

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Is the activity of making the book the best bit?

Or is it sharing, reading (and re-reading) your lovely book?

For some people, it's all about the activity- the creativity and the therapeutic benefits of making the book.


For other people, the book itself is key- a chance to communicate needs, views and values. The books are life rafts for precious memories and treasured legacies for generations to come.


Life Stories come in all shapes and sizes, but we love books. The way they smell, the way they feel. They are easy and fuss-free. You need no power cables or fancy technology. They can live on the coffee table or by the bedside- an easy way to communicate with new companions or carers, or to share with old friends and family.

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Buying the gift voucher for my mother and father in law was an inspired Christmas present. Thanks Rachel for your help and support- I know they are so chuffed with it! The process/ journey you have given them itself has been amazing and the product will be the icing on the cake!



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Caring for the Carer

Research shows that helping someone create a Life Story Book can make the job of caring so much more enjoyable.


Professional carers


Gaining a proper understanding of someone's Life Story can lead to better-focused care, common ground can be shared, and assumptions challenged.


The finished book is also a fantastic care tool, for building connections, helping manage anxiety, and de-escalating tense or fraught situations.


Family carers


Creating these books helps provide perspective, a respite from day-to-day care needs, a way to remember shared happy times and they're also a way of connecting with the outside world.


Providing Care for Elderly
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Why Life Story Books?

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1.4 million older people in the UK are often lonely - Age UK

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There are currently around 900,000 people with dementia in the UK. This is projected to rise to 1.6 million people by 2040 - Alzheimer's Society

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The UK’s population is undergoing a massive age shift. There are over 11 million people aged 65 and in ten years’ time this will have increased to 13 million people, 22% of the population- Centre for Ageing Better

NICE guidance identifies person-centred care as being central to good quality health services. In May 2020 77% of NHS patients said that staff looking after them involved them in decisions about their care and treatment ‘a great deal’ or ‘a fair amount’- Care Quality Commission

The BIG dream...

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Just as any young person leaving care is legally entitled to a Life Story Book, we believe that anyone receiving care should have access to these books too.

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Innovation

In the UK, there are very few social community-based Life Story Projects. We want to fill this gap and we offer a unique service, helping communities provide caring and compassionate Life Story Work. We use fantastic British-based online digital publishers, guaranteeing customised, beautifully crafted books.



Our Projects

We are committed to providing a Life Story service that is accessible and affordable to all.


Where private funding isn't available, we are happy to help community projects bid for funding and grants to run these projects.


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Milestones and Memories

This project is all about celebrating the best bits! Telling your story on your terms. Sharing 10 pictures and the stories behind them, helps groups reflect on different 'Life Chapters'- childhood, school, work, family, holidays, hobbies, achievements, reflections and bucket lists.


We provide training and resources to enable a facilitator to run this 5 week workshop, then the professionals at the Life Story Team turn these stories into beautifully produced Life Story Books.

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Presenting Your Past

This is a 1-1 Life Story Service. Aimed primarily at capturing important family history, and creating a legacy for future generations. These books are key to building connections, and allowing individuals to share their stories, on their own terms.


This can often mean challenging assumptions, finding common ground, or celebrating important family milestones, traditions and history.


We provide training and resources to allow carers or family members to create these books. We can also provide this service for individuals in the Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex area:


www.presentingyourpast.com




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Contact Us

We'd love to support you in designing and delivering a Life Story Project.


Do get in touch if you'd like to chat about how Life Story Books could help you and the people whose stories you value.

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+ 44 7583 297432

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rachel-lewis3@sky.com