Why “talk story?”

Seniors in long-term care facilities have a mental and emotional need to socialize and share stories. In Hawaii, it’s called “talk story.” 

Research tells us that the act of talking about culturally specific memories can help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline in seniors. So we created a life story book that includes culturally specific questions and prompts to evoke the recollections of seniors of Japanese ancestry. 

Volunteers then meet with seniors for “talk story” sessions, using our “Let’s Talk Story” book as a tool to evoke special memories and guide the interactions. Our volunteers record the seniors’ stories in the book and leave it as a keepsake for their loved ones to treasure. Caregivers also use the book to understand the seniors’ needs and preferences.

Benefits to Seniors

The act of sharing stories:

  • Builds social connection
  • Offers companionship
  • Forges intergenerational bonds
  • Reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation
  • Leads to improved communication, reduces stress
  • Keeps minds active and engaged
  • Promotes self-esteem and a sense of self worth
  • Provides a worthwhile project to work on

Benefits to loved ones

  • Stories are captured and preserved as keepsakes
  • Future generations can connect to ancestry and cultural past