Conceptualise micro-journaling service to cherish elderly life stories and perpetuate their legacy

Modern Aging is an ACCESS Health International and NUS Enterprise program to help create new business in Singapore that serve the needs of elders and their caregivers through education and mentoring program for innovators who want to start businesses for an aging population.

The inaugural program received more than five hundred participants and nearly one hundred business concepts for evaluation, which then shortlisted into top twenty semifinalists and six finalists. The programme was officially announced by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Minister-in-charge of Smart Nation, at InnovFest unBound 2015.

Idea: StoryCard

Studies (Woods 2007; Allen 2008) found beneficial therapeutic effect of legacy activities such as storytelling and memoir writing for elderly, dementia patients and caregivers. Writing memoirs helps to maintain cognitive vitality by stimulating the mind, sharpening past memories, deepening their meanings. It has the added benefit of developing a legacy for family and friends which may enable them to learn more about the person; build or solidify relationships. Researchers noted such story also help give younger generations with sense of identity and higher levels of emotional well-being.

Yet memoir writing is tedious to be done by oneself and perceived as luxurious to be done by professional writers. A memoir written by personal historians may range from several hundred dollars for a short and simple unedited oral history to $50,000 and more.

Instead of producing a single, comprehensive, structured memoir, we differentiate ourselves through our “StoryCard” design, service and toolkit which make story writing more interactive, fun and gratifying.

StoryCard is about perpetuating life stories. We create new meaning and connection for elderly persons from their experiences by making their story, inspiration and aspiration tangible for family and community. Based on the principles of journaling and storytelling, we facilitate visits, personal interaction and co-creation of their life stories as collectible cards for keepsake that immortalise their legacy as inspiration for others. Our goal is to reduce isolation and strengthen elderly bond with family and friends.

In the future, we will look into the possibility of sharing and expanding our capability through licensing our design, methodology and toolkits. This allows more people engage in story writing activities with elderly and hence achieving our mission to reduce isolation and strengthen elderly bond with family and friends.