Creating a life story using technology

Technology provides ways to create a full picture of someone’s experiences, likes and dislikes – all vital for care that focuses on the person as an individual. Creating a life story is fundamental to person-centred care.

Help to create a life story

Knowing about the person and their past is the first step. Life story work is recognised as vital to person-centred dementia care. It’s a tool to get to know someone, and the better you know someone, the better relationships with staff, family and carers can be. A record of experiences, likes and dislikes is very useful when someone is moving between care settings. A digital record of a life story can be stored and copies of text and images can be printed out.

Technology can support the creation of life stories:

Useful kit for individual life story work

Hints and tips for life story work


Reminiscence is a common activity with people with dementia. It involves talking about past activities, events and experiences, often using photographs and music as prompts. It can be done individually or in groups. Life story work involves getting to know someone’s past, present and future wishes, often to create a permanent digital record or a lifebook.

Technology can be helpful for individual and group reminiscence. Being able to access the internet during a group reminiscence session means you can:

Useful kit for reminiscence activities

Hints and tips for group reminiscence activities

Case studies

Case study: Reminiscence

Sergio, who is from Chile, found it difficult to join in with the general reminiscence discussions at the day centre. Staff found it hard to get him to talk about his background. One day, a member of staff was searching the internet to find music for people to sing. She asked Sergio if he had any requests and he mentioned a name she did not recognise. A search on YouTube revealed a famous Spanish opera singer. Other people at the day centre enjoyed the music, and Sergio began to talk a little about his past.

Case study: Familiar images

A woman living with dementia visited a day centre. The woman was confused and had trouble communicating with visitors and staff. Staff found out she had been in the Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF). They found Google images of WRAF uniforms and the woman recognised the one she used to wear. Staff also found photographs of airbases where she had worked as well as one of her husband and his Royal Air Force (RAF) crew. The husband was not aware the picture existed.

Take photographs

Creating digital images is inexpensive especially on a smart phone or tablet. With agreement, photographs of people attending the centre can be taken and displayed in a day centre or care home. If they are displayed on a screen, they can be made to change every few seconds, and people are fascinated by them. Images can stimulate memories. For example, photos of family members or places of significance.

Disclaimer: The products mentioned are to provide ideas for consideration only, none are endorsed by SCIE.