Seniors set down Memories in Life Stories

Some of the greatest literary works have been autobiographies. The Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau comes to mind, as do the accounts of Primo Levi. On a popular level, there are the memoirs of modern musicians like Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards. Celebrity autobiographies flood bookstore shelves and e-book downloads. President Bill Clinton accomplished a second career with the popular publication of his life story.

But you don't have to be a famous historical figure or modern celeb to write the story of your life. And writing a memoir can be therapeutic especially to seniors in retirement, who have lots of experience and spare time.

“A lot of older folks want to put their life into a shape that is easy to understand and a great way to do that is through a short book or memoir. They’re so great because their perspective is so long. To hear the stories about the ice man or the guy next store who sold eggs — all of this lost culture. It’s just so wonderful,” said Bill Roorbach to The State-Journal Register in Springfield, IL. Roorbach is the author of “Writing Life Stories,” a guide to writing memoirs.

Writing down memories can be healthy, balancing suppressed emotions and offering a great form of self-expression to residents in retirement settings, like assisted living and continuing care.

“There’s something about the visual memory that’s fun and easy and nonthreatening. And what happens is that all kinds of memories rise up that don’t necessarily come up if you were to just to sit down and write,” Roorbach told the media source.