mystories is a user friendly web based app for carers and aged care facilities to capture people’s stories. The app can used on a computer, tablet or mobile phone to records stories of people’s lives that are then easy to share with carers and family members.

Stories can be captured in written and audio form, in photographs and through video. It embeds maps and images which can act as important cues for gathering information and for reflection and for sharing.

The target market is aged care facilities and home care providers who recognise the benefits of story telling to improve wellbeing. The idea is they would incorporate it into their activities program and use it as a tool to help carers connect with residents or clients.

Older people in care are often perceived as recipients of care rather than people and the rate of depression among residents in Australian aged care facilities is extremely high. Known causes of depression are loss of identify and isolation

Everyone has a story to tell, but for many reasons, may not get the chance to share it or capture it which is where mystories is particularly useful. Reminiscing about one’s life can improve emotional well-being and reduce symptoms of depression. It also gives people a sense of their identity and achievements, and records precious memories for future generations.

Connecting older people with carers and family gives them a sense of purpose and identity. Sharing stories, whether it is through words, pictures or music, reduces isolation.

There are currently about 190,000 people in residential aged care and a further 72,000 people being cared for at home under a home care package. mystories will add value to aged care facilities and home care providers by demonstrating their commitment to trying new ways to improve their clients’ wellbeing. A care facility with happy clients is likely to bring about less complaints and more praise from both residents and family members.

Digital story telling is not new. The health and wellbeing benefit of story-telling with people suffering dementia is well documented. What make mystories different is it its simplicity. It makes it simple for carers to navigate and use the simple functionality to capture people’s stories in the most appropriate way.

We plan to offer the software on a subscription basis where aged care facilities and care providers pay a few dollars a month per user or resident. Preliminary discussions indicate that Goodwin Aged care Services, one of Canberra’s largest providers of aged care, are interested to trial My Stories and introduce into at least one of its facilities.

A complete working demo of our site is available at http://www.mystori.es. To view an existing story go to http://www.mystori.es/person/1/story

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