Life Story Interview Tips


Creating a storytelling connection with an older adult by recording life stories is one of the most meaningful and rewarding activities you can enjoy together.

While you share true bonding moments with your loved one, they are also gifting you with treasured memories that you can pass on and share with the rest of the family.

Here, we share simple tips that have helped families start their own life story projects.


1 ) Conduct the storytelling somewhere with as little background noise as possible. This helps create a quiet, safe space for your loved one to share their experiences.

2 ) Prompt them for additional details. The best stories are told when family interviewers help the storytellers elaborate on the details of their experiences, and really dig in to see what life was like for their loved one.

3 ) Go through old photo albums. Visual aids are great for prompting interesting life stories.

4 ) To help them warm up, let them share a story that they often like to tell. They’ll be more willing to entertain new life story questions afterwards.

5 ) Make it a family activity. Grab your kids, your grandkids, and other family members whenever they visit and give them a chance to participate in interviewing the more senior members of the family. Often, people are more willing to open up when they see others sharing their stories. Also, having multiple people involved can even trigger more memories.

6 ) Give the storyteller time to share at their own pace. Also keep in mind that even if your older adult’s story doesn’t seem 100% accurate, they’re telling their life story from their unique perspective and memory.