What is Tell Stories for Life?

Tell Stories for Life consists of group conversations conducted by groups of four to six older participants and a group leader. In a series of meetings, the group leader will guide the participants, helping them remember meaningful stories from their lives, tell these stories, and listen to the life stories told by the other participants.

 

Tell Stories for Life forms new feelings of togetherness in old age. By means of structured group meetings, the participants share meaningful stories from their lives with the purpose of getting to know themselves and the group better. The process strengthens the participants’ understanding of who they are while they are getting to know each other on a deeper level.

A lot of older people lose friends and family who have witnessed their lives and know their life stories. This leads to loneliness and a weakened sense of identity. Our sense of identity diminishes as people close to us pass away. Sharing one’s life story with others creates new witnesses. As Tell Stories for Life participants share important moments of their lives, they are making new acquaintances which may eventually turn into friendships and close and lasting relationships.

Tell Stories for Life in practice

Groups are made of four to six elderly participants and a group leader. The groups meet for 10 sessions to tell and listen to life stories. The group leader guides the conversation and asks questions that unfold the stories in a way that makes their meaning and significance stand out. The group leader makes sure that every participant is heard and that the conversation proceeds in an acknowledging and respectful manner.

Who are the participants in Tell Stories for Life groups?

Tell Stories for Life is for all older adults. There is no age limit or other criteria; however, most participants are 75+ and living alone. Groups are located in nursing homes, activity centres, drop-in centres, and social cafes. Volunteers and/or nursing home staff are group leaders and in charge of the arrangements. You need to be a certified Tell Stories for Life group leader to set up a group.

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The EGV Foundation teaches and supervises new group leaders. Local municipalities often take the initiative to start groups and purchase Tell Stories for Life courses to train employees and volunteers. For more information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., who founded Tell Stories for Life and works at the EGV Foundation as project manager and Tell Stories for Life supervisor.

Tell Stories for Life is a social project supported and managed by the EGV Foundation.

An Update on Tell Stories for Life (in The Faroe Islands, Greenland, Japan)

Tell Stories for Life – an EGV social commitment in cooperation with Danish municipalities and volunteers – is expanding in Denmark. Tell Stories for Life groups provide the framework for older citizens to establish new relationships after their loss of life witnesses. In the summer of 2019, project manager Andreas Nikolajsen and Kalaallit Røde Korsiat took Tell Stories for Life to Greenland. As of January 2020, there are 13 educated volunteers and employers working with care for the elderly in Greenland and Tell Stories for Life groups have been initiated along the west coast.

Anders Nikolajsen has also travelled to the Faroe Islands to educate pre-emptive home nurses to become Tell Stories for Life group leaders, and several groups are on their way.

Lastly, a Japanese nurse and associate professor at Sapporo City University/Hokkaido University has raised money to fund a translation of the project’s educational book into Japanese.