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New video reveals the 'joys and surprises' of telling your life story

SUPERIOR, Wis. -- Everybody has a story. Helping an older adult to recount their personal history or recording your own autobiography can be therapeutic, fun and bring families closer together.

SUPERIOR, Wis. -- Everybody has a story. Helping an older adult to recount their personal history or recording your own autobiography can be therapeutic, fun and bring families closer together.

A new videotape, "The Joys and Surprises of Telling Your Life Story," encourages people to record their life story. The 41-minute videotape and an accompanying pamphlet offer tips for doing the job yourself or working with the growing number of professional personal historians.

"'The Joys and Surprises of Telling Your Life Story' is designed to help people write their life story or to work with other people to write their life story," said John Kunz, the tape's producer and a program manager for the Center for Continuing Education/Extension at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. "Every time I show the videotape, people say it inspires them to work on telling their story."

Reminiscing used to be regarded as a sign of approaching senility. But research has shown that recounting memories and retelling old stories is part of normal human development as people age.

"Life review helps a person put his or her life in perspective," said Kunz, who directs the International Institute for Reminiscence and Life Review. "It also helps keep older people from stagnating. It helps them resolve issues in their lives, prevents depression and increases self-esteem. It's fun and it feels good."

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"The Joys and Surprises of Telling Your Life Story" can be purchased for $15, including shipping, from Bi-Folkal Productions at (800) 568-5357 or online at http://bifolkal.org .

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