Our research will be used to help those providing care and assistance to elderly family members or friends. We hope that by offering a way to hear the Ten Stories, we can help to reduce the burden on caregivers, while at the same time allowing their elderly loved ones to be heard for who they are and how they wish to be remembered.

Our research consists of interviews with caregivers and support providers. We are gathering as many sets of stories as we can, and analyzing them for themes that might help caregivers understand what is important to their loved ones as they reflect on their life.

We are asking those who feel they have heard a finite set of stories from an elderly loved one to tell us about the content of those stories. We are collecting stories from caregivers who volunteer to share with us the stories their loved ones have told them as they grow older and reflect on their life. To be eligible for the studies, we seek participants:

  • Who are providing care or assistance to an elderly loved one;
  • Whose loved one, for whatever reason, is reviewing his or her life, perhaps anticipating its end;
  • Who feel they are hearing a finite set of stories from their loved one over and over.

We use a qualitative research approach to capture people’s own words and the significance that they carry. Qualitative research focuses on meaning and value, and does not try to reduce the breadth of human experience to numbers and statistics. Instead, it attempts to capture the richness and variety of different people’s life experiences. Qualitative research is ideally suited to this type of inquiry.

We seek to understand:

  • What are the main themes or ideas that people try to communicate to those closest to them?
  • What kinds of stories do they choose (whether consciously or subconsciously) to communicate those themes?
  • Are men’s stories are different from women’s stories?
  • Are the stories told different depending on how old one is?
  • Are different types of stories are told to spouses, to children, to friends or relatives?

The Research Process

Once we connect with you, one of our researchers will set up a time for an interview – it could be face-to-face or on the phone, depending on your preference and on the availability of an interviewer in your area.  They will also ask you to make yourself a few notes of the ten stories you wish to relate, so that you can readily tell them to us in the interview.

At the designated time, the interviewer will meet you and record your loved one’s stories, as told by them, to you.

The interviewer will then leave you with a small token of our appreciation, and go off to write up your loved one’s ten stories.  They will send you the transcript of those stories, to make sure we have got them right!  You will have an opportunity to edit or correct the transcript.

Once we’ve got the stories straight, we will enter them in our database ANONYMOUSLY.  From this point on, yours and your loved one’s identify will be obscured, and no one will be able to identify you.  We then analyze your stories, along with the stories of all of our other participants, and search for themes and common threads that help us to understand the meanings people are trying to convey with these stories.

Finally, we produce a small booklet with your loved one’s stories for you to keep.  You may also submit pictures to illustrate the stories if you wish, and we will include those as well.  For examples of what these booklets contain, see two examples under The Stories on our website (

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