Leaving a Lasting Legacy: Multigenerational Legacy Projects - Ashland County MHRB

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Leaving a Lasting Legacy: Multigenerational Legacy Projects

LEAVING A LASTING LEGACY: MULTIGENERATIONAL LEGACY PROJECTS was held June 24, 2019, 8:15 am - 3:30 pm at UH Samaritan on Main, 633 E. Main Street, Ashland, OH.  The event was hosted by Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County partnering with Hospice of North Central Ohio and Ashland County Historical Society.


Efforts to leave a lasting legacy though multigenerational legacy projects are beneficial for all involved.  Family bonds are strengthened (children, grandchildren, siblings), intergenerational solidarity is increased, and relationships between seniors and non-family-members who are helping are forged.   The seminar will provide an overview of what building and leaving a legacy is all about and will describe options for multigenerational legacy projects.   Two practicum experiences – helping you to set the stage for developing lasting mementoes – are offered:  (1) multigenerational legacy writing, grounded in conversations; and (2) developing legacy letters, legacy cards, and obituaries.   Participants will engage in an interactive process with presenters and other attendants, in which experiences and ideas can be shared. 


 Overview and “Call to Action” Presentation – Objectives:

 To learn about the benefits of leaving a legacy, focusing on multigenerational legacy projects.

  1. To be informed about different options for projects, resulting in the creation of permanent mementoes.
  2. To learn about the process of working as “teams” (e.g., senior with family members, nursing home resident with staff member) to capture life stories, to develop mementoes.   
  3. To address the “call to action” to proceed with legacy work when individuals have been diagnosed with dementia or with a terminal illness.

 Making the Process Therapeutic and a Bonding Experience – Objectives:

 To develop an understanding of the therapeutic benefits of writing, both personally and professionally.

  1. To learn about different approaches for incorporating writing into daily routines and rituals.
  2. To be informed about various writing techniques to create a “writing coping skills” toolbox.
  3. To learn strategies for making collaborative “multigenerational legacy projects” therapeutic while building/strengthening relationships.

 Multigenerational Legacy Writing, Grounded in Conversations (Workshop 1) – Objectives:

 To learn about the process and benefits of multigenerational legacy writing.

  1. To engage in “conversation” exercises that will help participants frame legacy writing efforts.
  2. To be informed about how “conversations” can help forge relationships, strengthen familial bonds, engage children and youth in a dynamic process, and stimulate the development of memoirs and other mementoes.
  3. To be provided with resources that will be useful in proceeding with multigenerational legacy writing projects, ones grounded in conversations.

 Leaving a Lasting Legacy by Crafting Legacy Letters, Legacy Cards, and Obituaries (Workshop 2) – Objectives:

 To discuss how legacy letters, legacy cards, and obituaries are linked with multi-generational legacy projects, with leaving a lasting legacy.

  1. To learn about different forms of legacy letters, the process of creating them, and to engage in an exercise in which one is developed.
  2. To become informed about different types of legacy cards, to be provided with examples.
  3. To learn about how legacy writing and legacy letters can be used to develop obituaries, to create a context for eulogies.


                 Diana Spore received her Master’s degree in Gerontological Studies from Miami University, and earned her PhD in Human Development and Family Studies, with a concentration in Aging, from Penn State.  She completed postdoctoral training at Brown University.  Spore’s areas of expertise include mental health and aging, long-term care, psychotropic drug use and inappropriate drug use among older adults, and caregiving.   She is a former Board Member of the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County (MHRB).  Currently, she is an Older Adult Consultant at the MHRB, writing articles for a local newspaper about topics of interest to seniors.    She has expertise in addressing the process and benefits of different forms of writing for recovery, self-empowerment, emotional well-being, and healing.   She has co-facilitated workshops on creative writing for recovery, journaling for caregivers, and legacy writing.   She is a member of the Older Adult Behavioral Health Coalition (OABHC).    Spore helped her 90-year old mother in her efforts to craft legacy letters, to engage in legacy writing, and to share her life story.  Her mother, Virginia, passed away in March 2018, and was unable to finish developing a memory box to pass on to future generations.  Diana relied on recall and notes to ensure that the box included everything her Mom had wanted to leave as a gift, a medley of cherished memories. 

                 Kailey Bradley-Thomas received her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Ashland Theological Seminary.  She is a licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC) in the State of Ohio.  Bradley-Thomas is coordinator of bereavement services at Hospice of North Central Ohio, and specializes in grief counseling and grief education.  As a counselor, she is interested in the power of narrative and has worked with all age groups on the benefits of therapeutic story-telling.  She has facilitated groups on addiction, anger management, self-care, grief/loss, depression and anxiety.  Bradley-Thomas is a Board Member of the Ashland County Council on Aging, and is a member of the OABHC, the Ashland County Trauma and Resiliency Collaborative, and the Suicide Prevention Coalitions in Ashland and Richland counties.  Bradley-Thomas serves as a facilitator for a caregiver support group for the Alzheimer’s Association, and is a member of the University Hospitals Bio-Ethics Committee in Ashland.  She has presented on issues surrounding children’s grief, legacy writing, and end-of-life.   Currently, Bradley-Thomas is working towards certification in thanatology.  She loves living with her husband, Stephen, and their golden doodle, Scout, in Ashland. 

Here is a follow-up article featuring this event.  




The wedding dress keepsake



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