Rose Mooney with her Reflections was the first participant of the program. See photo
The purpose of the Reflections Program is to record the life-stories of anyone in long-term or palliative care who wishes to leave a legacy of personal history for loved ones. The client will choose from a variety of formats: a book that delivers a history of the family, with critical dates, pictures and stories of days gone by; a video with precious images of the client reflecting on highlights of a full life; an audio CD that carries a similar message to the video; or a scrapbook of visual images of important moments acquired over a life-time. Someone may even choose to have a picture album organized on a CD or in book form. Every person has a unique story to tell and a unique way of telling it.
How does it work?
When a client is ready to record his or her life story, a trained volunteer from the AVHS Reflections Program will visit with the client and engage in gentle conversations about the client’s life. A format will be decided upon and a number of interview sessions will be planned. The client’s family may be involved in the recordings to the degree that the client wants them to be. However, no matter how much or how little the family is directly involved in the actual recordings, the family’s overall support is deeply important to the success of the final product. Family members can provide motivation and encouragement for the story to be told. They can also help with research, finding pictures, confirming dates, and providing triggers for memories long buried.
Costs: The services of the hospice volunteers are free. Each one has signed on to this project because of a passion for story-telling and an abiding interest in other people. They each consider this work to be a privilege and an honour and are eager to devote their time to developing a product for which the client and the family can be proud. One copy of the finished product is free. Costs for further copies will vary depending on numbers and format.
Why tell your story? Perhaps the American Hospice Foundation says it most clearly:
“Your story is one of the most valuable gifts you can give your loved ones. What may surprise you is how valuable the telling will be for you.
Looking back and sharing your special memories can be both rewarding and entertaining. It will help you appreciate the richness of your life, the people who have been important to you and the experiences which have influenced you. You will be creating something tangible and uniquely yours – the story of your life the way you want it told.”
If you know anyone who is currently in long-term or palliative care who may wish to have a life-story recorded or if you have any questions about the Reflections Program please call the AVHS office at 250-723-4478.