How To's and Tips, Celebrating Life

Seniors Can Get More and Better Sleep By Following This Essential Advice

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Contributed by Karen Weeks of Elder Wellness

Are you a senior who struggles to get enough sleep? A routine of restful sleep at night can help seniors preserve their physical health while maintaining cognitive function; but if you need help getting the sleep you need, then you need to pay attention to the following tips.
 

Thoroughly Address Serious Sleep Issues

Though often overlooked, your sleep issues could be the result of an actual sleep disorder. Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, periodic limb movement disorder, and restless leg syndrome (RLS), can keep seniors from getting the sleep they need to stay healthy. With proper testing and treatment, however, you can get these issues under control and get to sleep again. For seniors who use Medicare, be aware of the coverage regarding sleep disorders, testing, and treatments. For Medicare to cover testing, you may need to be under a certain plan, and you will need a referral from a doctor. You can find out more about various sleep disorders, tests, and how Medicare covers sleep issues by clicking here. When a sleep or health issue seems to be at the root of your lack of sleep, it may be time to talk to your doctor.


Develop a Healthy Diet and Exercise Routine

You may already be aware of how a balanced diet and regular exercise can impact your overall health and brain function—but did you know that diet and exercise can affect the way you sleep? Getting enough exercise and eating a balanced diet can help you get more restful sleep. One of the best ways for seniors to stay active during the day is by walking. Walking is underrated as a form of exercise, but even a few extra steps can improve your health and help you get better sleep. Seniors can use a pedometer or fitness tracker to get a better handle on their physical health and track the number of steps they take each day. The best pedometers and fitness trackers will count your steps, calculate the distance you’ve traveled, and keep tabs on how many calories you burn. Keeping these counts in mind can motivate seniors to get the exercise they need to preserve their body, their cognitive function, and the quality of their sleep.


Properly Prepare Your Mind and Body for Sleep

One of the most effective ways to promote better sleep is to develop a bedtime routine that helps your brain and body unwind. Many people with sleep issues find it helpful to complete a brain dump before they crawl into bed. You can use a journal to write down all your thoughts, worries, and things to do so that they aren’t keeping you up at night. If your body has a hard time relaxing before bed, try some steps to physically wind down as well. A warm shower or bath can regulate your body temperature for better sleep. You can even use relaxing yoga to release tension from your muscles and soothe yourself to sleep.


Create a Sleep Sanctuary in Your Bedroom  
 

If you have problems getting to sleep, you should make your bedroom a haven for relaxation. Stick to using your bedroom for sleep and avoid completing other activities, such as watching television or even reading, while you are tucked into bed. If it’s been a while since you purchased your mattress, consider shopping around for a new one that is more supportive and less worn down. The right bedding and pillows can enhance your sleep as well. You can find pillows made for various sleeping positions, designed to correctly support your neck and head however you like to sleep. Cooling sheets and layered blankets can also help seniors regulate body heat and stay cool enough to stay asleep.

Like diet and exercise, sleep is essential in helping seniors stay strong, healthy, and happy. So take some steps to improve your sleep, as well as your wellness and quality of life.

Photo Credit: Unsplash 

 

 

Elder Wellness is a resource for older adults who wish to keep their minds, bodies, and spirits well.

Preserving Memories, Storytelling, Assisted Living Communities

Capture and record the stories of World War II veterans —  before it's too late

The guy piloting the landing craft got as close to the beach as he could. I was up by the ramp when it went down. Let's get the hell out of here! Bullets were flying all over. You had to get off and keep moving, because if you didn't, you were a dead duck…

“June 6, 1944, is a day I’ll never forget,” said William E. D'Huyvetters, a 90-year-old World War II veteran. He recalls hitting Omaha Beach on D-Day in his interview here.

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Stories like William’s are lost before they’re ever recorded. Everyday, World War II veterans are dying, and with them are stories of terrors and triumphs. According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, an average of 362 WWII veterans die each day and it’s estimated that only 350,000 United States Veterans of the original 16 million Americans who served are still alive. The youngest of these heroes are in their late eighties, and some are more than 100 years old.

The passing of the WWII generation

World War II veterans are a diminishing demographic, and it’s important to capture their stories now, while they’re still with us. This generation holds the stories of bloodshed and sacrifice - the stories of things they had to endure to be here today.

There are numerous benefits to storytelling. By starting the conversation with the Greatest Generation, we’re giving them the opportunity to share wartime experiences and life advice for future generations. We only have a short period of time until WWII is complete history.

Capture these stories

Fortunately, there are initiatives in place to capture these stories before it’s too late. One of which is the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project which collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans.

However, a program like this doesn’t need to be government-backed. One 19-year-old made it his mission to film interviews with the remaining WWII combat veterans. With the support of donors, Heroes of the Second World War has been able to interview 849 men.

Go out of your normal social circles, venture into senior homes and talk to your elderly neighbor. If you have the privilege to work at a senior living organization, you probably hear these stories daily. A Legacy Preservation Program initiates the conversation and ensures these stories are preserved for generations to come.

When you’re speaking to a veteran, you tend to forget that the person who they were. That person in the picture, that handsome kid, is the same man 70 years earlier. It almost seems like it’s the story they’re telling of someone else. When it hits you, that you’re talking to the same person, it’s a combination of joy and sadness - this kid went through hell, just so that we could be here.

It means a lot to these veterans to create a relationship with you and feel valued. You can see the youth come out of them when they have a good conversation and they have the opportunity to reminisce for a few minutes.

You don’t need to go searching for celebrities. There are plenty of real-life heroes just a phone call away.

 


 

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TSOLife (The Story Of Life) focuses on preserving legacy and passing down life stories for future generations. Inspired to capture the stories of the veterans in your care? We help senior living communities leverage technology to capture, preserve, and share the life stories of the residents in their care. Let's talk!

Learn More!

Company, Celebrating Life, Assisted Living Communities

Introducing the TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program

This month, we introduced the TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program, a first-of-its kind technology program that makes capturing and preserving life stories simple for users who don’t want to write the stories out themselves. Designed with senior living organizations in mind, the program lets the staff record their seniors telling life stories and preserves them on our family-facing Engagement Platform. By empowering the community to capture these stories, the seniors feel celebrated and families are given a precious keepsake that they'll cherish for generations.

Request a demo here to see for yourself how simple the tool is.

Our Story

The senior living industry seemed like an instinctive fit for TSOLife from the company’s very beginning. Senior living communities, in-home care providers, and hospices are full of individuals with incredibly rich life stories, many of which have never been shared, let alone documented. And too often these stories are lost before they’re ever recorded.

But it wasn’t until our newest team member came on board – someone who had grown up and worked with assisted living communities – that we were able to find the perfect product-market fit. He was explaining to us a specific relationship he had built with one of the seniors, Dave, a Navy Seal veteran, who would share the same war stories repeatedly. One day, Dave’s family visited, and the granddaughter had no idea that her grandfather had even served in the military!

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These situations were not uncommon. The staff heard these incredible stories in everyday interactions, but there was no simple way to document and share these narratives with the families who rarely had the chance to sit down and ask these type of questions.

The TSOLife is the bridge between the caregivers hearing the stories and a grandchild being able to listen to them.

So, with this technology, we developed the TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program, providing these communities the tools and technology to be able to capture and record their life stories.

Senior Living is Changing

The senior living industry is growing at over 4.7% annually, and with a vast range of options for senior care, the need to differentiate from the competition is crucial to attract families. And wellness programs are one of the key differentiators assisted living communities are utilizing to attract prospects, elevate current resident satisfaction, and engage families. And daily bingo won’t do the job; outdated approaches no longer work with today’s families.

According to J.D. Power’s analysis of senior living communities, "Communities that provide exceptional service are rewarded by their customers becoming brand ambassadors, positively speaking about their experience with an average of seven individuals. For those that fail to meet expectations, customers turn into brand assassins, speaking negatively about the brand to an average of 13 friends, relatives and colleagues.” And referrals are key when gaining prospects.

The TSOLife Solution

The Legacy Preservation Program is a key component to a company’s comprehensive wellness program - a perfect solution for senior living organizations looking to champion patient-first, holistic care in ways that families have come to expect. Best practice communities start with the mission and develop their wellness culture from that core foundation. At the same time, communities become more attractive to potential investors who see a forward-thinking organization. The TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program meets both mission and operational objectives.

What You Can Do with TSOLife

The Legacy Preservation Program begins with training material for the staff, so they will be able to conduct the interviews with ease and confidence, navigating those crucial conversations.

To capture the stories, users use the TSOLife mobile application. There’s two main features within the app, the first is an audio recording tool used to interview the resident. The staff member just selects the resident she’s interviewing, and has a conversation about the resident’s life, asking open-ended questions like, “What was it like growing up in Tampa or tell me the story how your husband proposed.”

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The second feature is called Magic Moments. This was designed with Memory Care Facilities in mind - residents who are not easily capable of recalling past life events. When a resident has a moment of clarity and remembers a memory from her youth, the staff member can pull up the app and capture the moment instantly

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Now going back to our friend Dave, imagine his caregivers having that conversation about his favorite memories, but being able to record it with the TSOLife app. Just hit send, and that audio is transcribed and organized into individual stories and preserved on our TSOLife Engagement Platform. We notify Dave’s family, saying “Hey, take a look at Dave’s life stories, look at this amazing activity that X Community did with Dave.” And the family simply clicks on the link and is taken to Dave’s personal TSOLife account. His grand kids can read his stories and listen to their grandfather’s own words recount his heroic stories as a Navy Seal.

For the Magic Moments, we combine all the videos taken of the residents into a seamless video and send it to the families once a month.

And for residents like Dave, his incredible life stories are captured and preserved for his family to enjoy today and cherish for years to come. There will be grandchildren and great grandchildren that will have the opportunity to hear the life story of their late family member, all because of the work TSOLife and Dave’s community are doing.

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We’ve already seen the effect TSOLife has on families, and now, when used properly, it can provide a relatively inexpensive way to attract prospects, keep families engaged, and foster meaningful relationships for senior living organizations. Pairing this program with a community that already offers extraordinary care and amenities, and your community can significantly elevate themselves above the competition.

To see how it works in action, schedule a free web demo today! Learn more about the TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program here.

Company, Preserving Memories, Storytelling, Assisted Living Communities

TSOLife Case Study: A Legacy Preservation Program meets both mission and operational objectives

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In today's world of senior living, assisted living communities are expected to do more with less. Families have come to expect amenities and care that go above and beyond, while staff are under significant financial and time constrains. Now, imagine if there was an affordable program that attracted prospecting families, elevated current resident satisfaction, and engaged families. That's exactly what the TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program does. 

Click here to view the case study

Understanding the need for communities to increase person-centered care and resident engagement in order to increase occupancy, the TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program was designed to do just that by pairing state-of-the art technology with face-to-face interaction. Our innovative technology makes the process simple and timely so that staff can focus on what matters most: the senior. Meanwhile, meaningful interactions are encouraged, seniors are engaged, and the resident feels celebrated and valued. 

The technology was designed with seniors in mind. For example, instead of requiring typing, which can be an obstacle for some people, the TSOLife mobile app converts spoken phrases to text, which is sent to family and friends, all of which is automated on our end. 

A TSOLife Legacy Preservation program is the embodiment of a community that cares for its residents. We've put together a case study that demonstrates how effective TSOLife is from a business's standpoint while highlighting the impact this program has on seniors and their families.

Read Now


 

To see how it works in action, schedule a free web demo today! Learn more about the Minerva System and the TSOLife Legacy Preservation Program here.

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How To's and Tips, Celebrating Life, Assisted Living Communities

5 Fresh Activities for Seniors in Assisted Living

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Seniors in assisted living want to stay connected to their interests and passions. Families want to know that mom or dad is in a good community. Activity directors want fresh, worthwhile ideas that will generate participation and enthusiasm.

Meaningful activities can combat against depression, a common risk in long-term, senior living. Physical activities are hugely important, but the importance of cognitive exercises and social interaction cannot be downplayed.

The problem is that most assisted living communities have a very small activities budget. So, when resources and abilities are tight, make sure your activities calendar is packed with energetic and meaningful activities that will generate the most participation and greatest impact.

We’ve put together a quick list of some of our favorite assisted living activities that can lead to purposeful discussions and meaningful interactions.

Life Story Workshops 

Workshops that encourage discussing and writing life stories provide the opportunity for seniors to preserve their memories and leave their legacies. Seniors will enjoy sharing happy memories and the “good ole’ days”, but even more, talking about difficult memories can turn into a positive experience and contribute to a stronger community. There are numerous clinical studies that show that sharing life stories can be therapeutic for seniors suffering from depression.

Organize a group sharing session with a weekly theme, such as “Christmas Family Traditions”, “Favorite Vacations”, or “Childhood Memories”. Check out these prompts for intriguing questions and themes that you can use for inspiration.

Small groups work best with this activity so that an intimate environment is created and trust can be built. However, if resources and staff are limited, have seniors with similar interests partner with one another, or showcase a select few residents each week, and give them the floor to speak.

Remember to keep the sessions casual so that the senior feels relaxed, but structure is key in ensuring a smooth activity and the most meaningful interactions.

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Intergenerational Programs

Intergenerational programs facilitate visits from younger visitors to interact with senior residents. True intergenerational programs are, as Nancy Henkin of Temple University says, “not nice, but necessary.” This is an opportunity to create meaningful and fun interactions. The residents have the opportunity to be surrogate grandparents to local youngsters while children are able to learn from their elders. 

According to Senior Lifestyle, seniors who regularly volunteer with children burn 20% more calories per week, experienced fewer falls, were less reliant on canes, and performed better on memory tests than their peers.

 Depending the cognitive and mobility levels of your community, arts and crafts, reading activities, puzzles and games, or even lunch dates are just a few of the intergenerational activity possibilities. This is also an opportunity for youth to teach basic computer usage, bringing residents closer to their families through email, Skype, sending greeting cards and so much more. 

Show-and-Tell

Do you remember looking forward to “Show-and-Tell” day in your elementary school class? Now, after years and years of collecting keepsakes and memories, show-and-tell can be an opportunity for rich stories to emerge from your residents and for memories to resurface that haven’t been thought about for years.

Seniors are encouraged to choose an important belonging and share the story behind it to the group. Whether this is an old photograph, family heirloom, or a grandchild’s drawing, seniors have a chance to share something meaningful about their past. The seniors feel celebrated and honored. 

Celebrate Their Heritage

Celebrating the tangible and intangible aspects of your resident’s culture and ethnicity can add to the uniqueness of the seniors and strengthen the community as a whole. Activities that promote greater understanding of your differences while encouraging a conversation will help you learn about your community.

In addition to celebrating diverse holidays and serving ethnic foods, your community can honor the intangible aspects that have helped shape the seniors you serve today. This can be done through cultural speakers, music, cooking and art classes, or story sharing.

Volunteering Opportunities

Service to others is one of the most intrinsically fulfilling opportunities you can provide for your residents. Besides the innate reward of helping others, volunteering promotes good physical and mental health and helps seniors pursue their passions in retirement.

While they may not be able to physically lend a helping hand, they can do good within the walls of the community by making blankets for a charity, writing cards for a children’s hospital, packaging or sorting care boxes, and more. Immobility does not eliminate volunteering opportunities. Get creative, partner with a local charity, and bring in outside volunteers. In return, not only will your seniors feel good about themselves, you’ll be fostering a culture of compassion – not just for the residents, but for the local community and beyond.

 


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TSOLife (The Story of Life) focuses on preserving legacy and passing down life stories for future generations. Our mission is that no grandchild should have to wonder what their grandparent was like. Our unique solutions create the most personalized way to pass down personal stories that families will share and cherish for generations.

Learn More!

Family History, Documenting Your Story, Preserving Memories

Have Your Grandparents Love with You Forever

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This is a testimonial provided by a TSOLife customer.

The holidays are a time to do something special for your loved ones, to celebrate their lives, and make them feel loved. When considering the perfect gift for our family patriarch, my 90-year-old father-in-law, Donald, my husband Jeffrey and I went looking for a way to document his life story and chose TSOLife. What initially was meant to be a unique gift turned out to be something much more meaningful and truly strengthened the bonds between my family.

Searching for a meaningful gift.

Finding the perfect gift can be challenging. But with so many reasons to celebrate this year – the holidays, Donald’s milestone birthday, and the first family reunion in several years - I knew I wanted to do something special for the whole family. However, I didn’t want to purchase my father-in-law another item of clothing, and his age made it challenging for us to take vacations.

Further, like many families, ours is spread out all over the country, and even gathering my immediate family with our own grown daughters is tough – let alone bringing our entire generational family together. What could I do for our family that would make everyone feel connected?

With my own parents’ passing over 15 years ago, I knew first-hand how special and cherished our time spent with our elders are. How can I capture my father-in-law’s life stories and preserve this memory of him? I desired a way to commemorate the wonderful life of my loving father-in-law and make him feel valued, respected, and loved.

How TSOLife Helped.

When I heard about the TSOLife Legacy Documentary, my immediate thought was how I wish I had a video like this of my own mom and dad. I knew I had to take advantage of this opportunity, so that my own children would have no regrets, and that their children would be able to watch the video and say, “This is my great-grandpa.”

My husband’s siblings and we got together and arranged for the TSOLife team to make a documentary of dad seamlessly sharing life stories – a truly unique and meaningful Christmas present. The process was simple, we just chose the date, and the TSOLife team traveled to Donald to interview and film him. They asked questions that I would not have thought to think of, and their quality film equipment and expertise was something that I could not replicate on my iPhone.

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Strengthening the family bonds.

The TSOLife documentary was the perfect gift for my father-in-law, and is something that the whole family will cherish for years to come. We played the documentary at our family reunion, and for those who couldn’t travel to the festivities, we could share the digital link with them through Facebook and email.

Donald felt appreciated and celebrated, and we all heard stories that we had never heard before. We enjoyed hearing about his childhood, school stories, stories about his wedding, honeymoon and poignant memories about career, raising a family - impactful lessons that we would never have known and now have documented for the future. The film is absolutely beautiful, and the quality will stand the test of time. It opened up certain conversations that we wouldn’t have had otherwise, and I enjoyed my own daughters being able to ask their grandfather more stories about his childhood.

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Celebrate and honor your loved one.

Family history is a priceless gem that’s too often lost before it’s ever recorded. We should celebrate and cherish the relationships with our loved ones while we can.

This documentary turned out to be something way more than I expected, and goes far beyond then just a gift for my dad. Showing my love and appreciation for my loved ones is something that I greatly value, and I feel like this documentary had allowed me to do that for my family. This documentary gave us peace of mind knowing that Donald’s legacy is preserved, strengthened the bonds between our family, and celebrated our loved one. We will forever cherish this special film.

- Christi D., TSOLife Customer

Click here to watch Donald's full documentary.

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ABOUT TSOLIFE

TSOLife focuses preserve legacy and passing down life stories for future generations. Our mission is that no grandchild should have to wonder what their grandparent was like. Our unique solutions create the most personalized way to pass down personal stories that families will share and cherish for generations.

Learn More!

How To's and Tips, Documenting Your Story, Preserving Memories, Writing Your Memoir, Memoir

Creating a Memory List: Great Tips to Start Your Memoir

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Writing about your life may sound easy… until you sit down with that blank piece of paper or computer screen in front of you and your mind goes blank.

Been there.

So, how do you get over this?  I suggest by creating a memory list! Trying to write your lifestories without a memory list is like driving on a dark road without headlights. When you turn on those lights, you can then stay in between the lines and on the road.

It is worth taking some time to create a list of events that have occurred during your life, and I know even that may sound overwhelming. Let’s begin with a few ground rules and make it fun:

Start thinking about the major events from your past. When you married; had a child; went to college; graduated high school; visited your grandparents in the summer; moved to another state… On and on it will go!! Once you open that part of your brain where the memories are stored, they will just flow onto the paper. (Some of you may find that typing in a word processor works for you just as well as writing on paper. YOUR CHOICE. Later, in a future post, we will talk more about how different writing methods can elicit different results in our perspective on a life event.)

We are trying to create a list of random thoughts and recollections - hundreds of brief statements. This may take you a few days, to a week and maybe even several months. I recommend creating this list in a way that you can add to it as time goes on.

Some folks like to use a 3-ring binder where you can shift the pages around and increase the pages easily. Of course, if you are typing on a word processor, there is always, “cut and paste!”. Don’t worry about repeating yourself as you write, as that can be a clue to something on your mind that needs to be explored.

I suggest you start this way: mull and ponder a little! As the memories come, jot them down and write whatever comes to mind. Release that inner censor that tells you, “that word is not spelled right”, “it’s not a full sentence”, etc. Let the thoughts drift from your brain.

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Have you heard of free writing? Don’t lift your hands from the paper, just keep going! Sometimes, you will remember dates, names, places, and other obscure memories - but not the details, just yet! It’s OK to write in fragments and short bursts of thoughts. Think of an old-fashioned water pump: one must pump that handle until the water starts to flow, and when it does, it just gushes out! Don’t punctuate, spell check, try to create a sentence or even a paragraph. Keep your list where you can access it easily and add to it until you have several pages.

Once you have those many pages of memories written, let’s get them organized! Read through your list and choose 5 to 10 core events that you want to write about first. It’s important to consider what you think changed your life’s direction, what lesson you may have learned, who and why were the most important people, places or things that made you who you are today. These core events are where you begin. Now you may write a sentence and get that spelling right!!

Your stories are there waiting to be told. Your task is to let them emerge from the depths of your memory. (Quote borrowed from Turning Memories Into Memoirs, A Handbook for Writing Lifestories, by Denis Ledoux)

Next time we will discuss how to expand those sentences and begin to write your lifestories by using your senses!

 

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ABOUT TSOLIFE

TSOLife focuses on creating innovative ways to preserve legacy and pass down life stories for future generations. Our mission is that no grandchild should have to wonder what their grandparent was like. Our unique solutions create the most personalized way to pass down personal stories that families will share and cherish for generations.

Learn More!

Ancestry, Family History, Documenting Your Story, Storytelling

5 Reasons To Tell Your Life Story

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To be a person is to have a story to tell.” – Isak Dinesen 

We’re fascinated by stories. Think about it. We spend hours watching movies, reading books, listening to music and podcasts. It’s human nature to gravitate towards stories.

There’s actually a science behind it. When we are being told a story, not only are the language processing parts in our brains activated, but any other area of the brain that would be used when experiencing the events of the story are too. For example, if someone tells a story about a delicious treat, our sensory cortex lights up. A good story can put your whole brain to work.

Science aside, our stories hold power. Storytelling transcends our past and gives a glimpse to the future. Stories are how we think and how we make meaning of our lives. Your life story can heal you and your story can heal someone else.

Below are 5 reasons to tell your life story:

1. Other people can benefit from your wisdom.

Telling your story can inspire and teach others. You might not think your stories overflow with wisdom, but they allow your audience to feel something that they haven’t felt themselves – whether it’s pain, joy, heartbreak, or love. Your experiences can teach something that young people especially can benefit from. You might be just the role model they’ve been searching for.  We’re all humans. The stories that you tell will echo onto others - as we all live, love, hate, and die. 

2. Your stories are important to your family.

The experiences and stories from your childhood, of meeting your future wife, Sunday dinners with your grandparents, all provide context to your family. Your descendants will appreciate and cherish your life stories for generations to come. Simply sharing with your children and grandchildren the family they were born into can be exactly the reassurance they need. The older they get, the more curious they will be about who you were and what situations shaped you. Your stories are a glimpse of a life they'll never experience and the memories you leave behind will be cherished and spread by your loved ones. Your family will thank you for documenting your stories.

3. Build self-awareness.

Storytelling is a way to reflect on who you used to be and the journey to where you are now. By building your self-awareness, you’re able to understand people better, how they perceive you, your attitude, and your responses to them in the moment. Reflecting on your past self helps you celebrate your milestones and learn from your mistakes. Your narrative identity is the story of your life – but it’s more than just stories. How you understand your narrative frames your current actions and future goals. As Dan McAdams, Northwestern University psychology professor, explains:

The stories we tell ourselves about our lives don’t just shape our personalities - they are our personalities.

4. Relate to one another.

Sharing stories brings people together. When you hear a good story, you develop empathy with the storyteller and the situation. Think about it. Your friend tells you a story about her family from her childhood and you suddenly have a significantly better understanding of her and in return your relationship is strengthened. Sharing life stories allows the teller and listeners to find commonalities. Stories give context to the person’s life and connect us to something greater than ourselves. Humans are social beings and meaning is found in community.

5. It’s fun!

Writing your life story can be complex, involving narrative flow, character development, and dialogue. Or it can be surprisingly easy and fun. If you’re a natural storyteller and writing is a hobby of yours, writing a memoir or autobiography can be very fulfilling. However, you can still reap all the benefits of storytelling without over complicating your story. When was the last time you reminisced on your youth? This nostalgia is good for us in more ways than one, research shows. An ancient memory of rainbow snow cone juice running down your sticky chin might be the forgotten memory that will put a smile on your face.

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GET STARTED

If storytelling has all these benefits, why isn't everyone doing it? Staring at a blank piece of paper or screen when you have a lifetime of memories inside of your head may seem like a daunting task. To help get you started on sharing your life stories, we’ve developed an easy and fun (and free!) guide. The process was modeled after life writing workshops, and is led by a professional writing instructor who coaches you every step of the way through short videos. 

Start Writing Today!

No one has lived or seen the exact same things than you, in the same place and moment. Do you understand how special that is? Take the time and tell your stories. You’ll feel good and you just might touch others, too.


 

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About TSOLife

TSOLife focuses on creating innovative ways to preserve legacy and pass down life stories for future generations. Our mission is that no grandchild should have to wonder what their grandparent was like. Our unique solutions create the most personalized way to pass down personal stories that families will share and cherish for generations.

Company, Documenting Your Story, Celebrating Life

Everyone Has a Story to Tell: A Case Study

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A legacy preserved forever.

Michael Fronk touched the lives of everyone he encountered with his sense of humor and upbeat spirit. Although he is well known and beloved in his community, he didn’t want to miss any opportunities to grow closer to his family. His family and friends arranged for TSOLife to interview and film Michael sharing precious life stories. The Fronk family is located all over the country, but Michael’s personal and customized documentary has brought them all closer. His memories are now preserved in a unique short film. The documentary will contribute to the personalized funeral service that Michael desires.

We believe that everyone’s story is worth telling and too often these stories are lost before they are ever recorded.

The challenge.

Michael Fronk’s family and friends felt the sense of urgency to capture his legacy before it was too late. Like many families, the Fronks didn’t have the time or resources to personally interview, film, and transcribe his stories. They wanted to find a way for Michael’s grandchildren and great grandchildren to know the kind and charismatic man that he was.

Documenting Michael's stories.

The Fronk family wanted to preserve Michael’s legacy before it was too late. The solution was a TSOLife customized and professional documentary.

Michael was touched when his family approached him with the project. In 2 hours and in the comfort of his own home, the TSOLife team was able to interview and film Michael as he recounted childhood adventures and passed down life lessons and wisdom.

With professional editing that included cuts, photos, and high quality cameras, the Fronk family had a truly unique and customized keepsake. In addition to DVDs, the film, raw footage, and transcriptions were all safely archived on the TSOLife online platform so that family and friends could share and access whenever, forever.

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A unique & personalized documentary.

The TSOLife team visited Michael three months after delivering his documentary to check in. We had developed a special friendship and were thrilled to find out that he was feeling much better.  He beamed as he expressed his gratitude to us for helping him pass down and preserve his stories for his descendants.

Michael talked continuously about the many calls he received from long lost friends and even grandchildren who saw his video online and wanted to reconnect. As it turns out, Michael’s documentary had over 500 views on Facebook, was shared 20 times, and reached over 6,300 people! He was very flattered and pleasantly surprised by its success.

This documentary helped bridge the generational gap and strengthen the bonds amongst Michael’s family. Michael’s loved ones have peace of mind knowing that their beloved elder’s stories are forever preserved.

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What he likes about it so much is that “you can talk about a person all day long but to hear their voices, their stories, what their dreams were, how their fathers met their mothers… That’s immeasurable.”

The Fronk family has a unique and special piece of Michael that they can show at his memorial that goes beyond just a photo slideshow or scrapbook. Michael is comforted by the fact that he is controlling the message at his funeral, passing on advice and leaving his loved ones with an uplifting note. The documentary is not just a photograph but is a living memory.

“My documentary is something that my family will have to remember me by. They have something almost tangible, certainly visual, that serves as a reminder of my love for them.”

-Michael Fronk

View Michael's Documentary!



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ABOUT TSOLIFE

TSOLife focuses on creating innovative ways to preserve legacy and pass down life stories for future generations. Our mission is that no grandchild should have to wonder what their grandparent was like. Our unique solutions create the most personalized way to pass down personal stories that families will share and cherish for generations.

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How To's and Tips, Funeral Home

Is Content Marketing Right for Your Funeral Home?


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In short, yes. Content marketing is profitable, if you're doing it right.

But frankly, if you’re creating content for search engine optimization (SEO), you’re wasting your time. Potential customers will not find your funeral home’s website through generic blog posts titled What to Say at a Funeral or topics on traditional Malaysian cremation practices. These keywords are searched on Google, but the chances of them being typed by a potential customer in your area are slim to none.

However, that’s not to say that you should scratch your social media efforts and stop writing blogs altogether. Having a content marketing strategy based on the unique needs, issues, and perspectives of the ideal customers will give your funeral home brand recognition and set you apart from the competitors.

When it comes to content marketing, we think the funeral home industry could learn a thing or two. Keep reading to find out what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and what you can do to maximize your results.


What is content marketing?

According to Hubspot, content marketing is a marketing strategy that centers on creating, publishing, and distributing content for your target audience. Marketers utilize social media networks, blogs, and other media types like Ebooks, case studies, webinars, and podcasts to put material in front of potential and existing customers. According to Kissmetrics, 94% of small businesses, 93% of B2Bs, and 77% of B2Cs use content marketing. It seems that everyone is doing it. Then why are funeral homes struggling to create effective content marketing? 

Web-based content marketing allows you to reach customers across the globe. However, for a funeral service, this is not necessarily an advantage when you're offering a service that is only applicable to customers who live in the area. For example, say you wrote a blog post titled "What to Say at a Funeral", and it had incredible SEO (search engine optimization). However, your funeral home is located in Florida, and your audience is the entire Internet community searching those keywords on Google. Your time and resources are wasted on writing that blog when your goal is to convert readers to customers, and the majority of your readers are not in a 30 mile radius of your funeral home. 

This example illustrates the common misuse of content marketing. To address this, it is important to distinguish the difference between content developed for potential customers and existing customers. 

Remember that all content you create should be original. Search engines reward content that is unique and catered towards a specific search. Creating good content takes time, and you'll benefit from making this a priority. Don't simply go through the motions.

According to Hubspot, content marketing is a marketing strategy that centers on creating, publishing, and distributing content for your target audience. Marketers utilize social media networks, blogs, and other media types like Ebooks, case studies, webinars, and podcasts to put material in front of potential and existing customers. According to Kissmetrics, 94% of small businesses, 93% of B2Bs, and 77% of B2Cs use content marketing. It seems that everyone is doing it. Then why are funeral homes struggling to create effective content marketing? Is this even the right approach for a funeral home?

What you’re doing right.

Families who are familiar with your funeral home look to you for support and answers along every step of the funeral process, from pre-planning to dealing with grief months after the service.

If you don’t already, make sure your funeral home has a FAQ on your website and pages on grief support, funeral terminology, types of services, tips on creative services, and more community resource. When building this content, ask yourself, "How can my customers maximize their investment?". Additionally, your blog posts compliment these pages. For example, the Grief Support page can incorporate inbound links to related blog articles you’ve written, like How to Help a Grieving Friend. This is great for the stage of customers who are already on your web page, but writing blog posts should not be at the forefront of your marketing strategy. The aforementioned resources will affirm your expertise, help you qualify prospects, and finally help make the sale but will not bring prospects to your site.

What you’re doing wrong.

Generic blog posts. Remember that all content you create should be original. Search engines reward content that is unique and catered towards a specific search. Creating good content takes time, and you'll benefit from making this a priority. Don't simply go through the motions.

Thinking that your blog is going to show up on the first page of Google. It most likely won’t, unless your content is extremely unique to the keywords being search. Don’t get too disappointed when your post is not ranking as highly as you thought it would on Google’s search results. The people searching for “inspiring quotes to guide you through grieving” are probably not your customers anyways.

Paying thousands of dollars to a third party to write your blog posts. Your money is better suited somewhere else where you can actually convert leads. In the next section we’ll dive deeper into where your resources will actually pay off.

What you can do to maximize results.

How do your offerings and expertise set you apart from competition? What makes your funeral home the best? In today’s competitive marketplace, it is essential to implement marketing that makes your firm the first to come to mind when a death occurs and families need to act fast.

Market yourself as the go-to resource in your community on all things funeral related. If families have benefited from your expertise services on death education, pre-planning, and grief support, they'll be more likely to recommend you to others. Peer recommendations carry significant weight in today's customer. Additionally, they’ll return when they know you are the best funeral home in the area. There's no need to explore other firms when you've proven yourself as the best funeral home in the area. This concept goes back to my previous point that content marketing will help you make the sale but will not get enough SEO to rank for generic keywords.

Now, in regards to getting potential customers on your page, you need to focus on solving your prospects’ needs. Why do your customers care about the content you're publishing? To do this, develop content that will get your brand name in front of your community. 

  • Hire a video company to create a virtual tour of your home. If you were looking for a wedding photographer, you’d want to see examples of their photos, not read a blog title 10 Best Most Flattering Wedding Poses. Similarly, when shopping-around for funeral homes, it’d be a critical asset to the families to be able to actually watch a short video showing off your space. Use the money you would spend on an inbound marketing company for a service that actually brings value to your customers.
  • Hire a professional to film your staff and interview the funeral director. Let your potential customers meet your friendly and professional team before they make that first line of contact.
  • Write a newsletter. A monthly newsletter gets your message directly to the community. This is especially applicable to your existing and previous customers. If they're already using your services, they've most likely given you permission to email them. Do you do any outreach programs or facilitate group grief support activities? Advertising these events in a newsletter is content marketing that proves that your firm is more than just a funeral home - you're an ally along the journey during this challenging time. 
  • Partner with community groups and businesses in your area and align your services with theirs. For example, partner with a personal documentary service and incorporate them into your pre-plan packages. Then you'll be adding value to your funeral home and will be able to use these inspirational videos as content marketing pieces on social media.

Reevaluate Your Strategy.

Being able to adapt your content marketing strategy based on the unique needs, issues, and perspectives of your potential and existing customers will help you attract the ideal customers and build trust with your existing customers. Be the expert on all things grief and design your content as support tool for every step of the process. 

Ask yourself, why would my clients read this? What need does this serve? Will my potential customers be able to find this content? Remember, designing successful content is challenging. So, put in the time, do your research, and remember, no one knows your service and customers as well as you do.

At the end of the day, content marketing for SEO is not going to get leads in the funnel. A blog does not build your relationship with potential customers, but the fact that you’ve been in the market for 80 years is what adds value to your funeral home. Market yourself on what will stand out to the customer. Is maximizing your SEO the best use of your resources? For most of you, probably not.

 

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ABOUT TSOLIFE

TSOLife provides innovative solutions that go above and beyond to give clients the memorials they deserve. Include TSOLife's documentary service as part of your pre-need packages and set your funeral home apart from the rest. It is time to celebrate a life well-lived in a way that is engaging for the whole family. 

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