Vol. 3 No. 4 (2020): International Journal of Aging Research
Research Articles

Sharing Stories as Legacy: What Matters to Older Adults?

Neha Shivhare, Ph.D.1, Luciane Maria Fadel, Ph.D.2, David Kaufman, Ed.D.3
1Dayalbagh Educational Inst. (Deemed University), Agra, India. 2Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil. 3Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada.
International Journal of Aging Research


  • Digital storytelling; Older adults; Elders; Legacy; Story types

How to Cite

Neha Shivhare, Ph.D.1, Luciane Maria Fadel, Ph.D.2, David Kaufman, Ed.D.3. (2020). Sharing Stories as Legacy: What Matters to Older Adults?. International Journal of Aging Research, 3(4), 69. https://doi.org/10.28933/ijoar-2020-08-2806


Objectives: Legacy allows individuals to make meaning of their lives by passing on their experiences and beliefs to younger people and influencing their perspectives, perceptions, and actions. This mixed-methods study investigated: (1) What is important for older adults to share as legacy with families, friends and others, based on the types and features of their digital stories ? and (2) How do older adults’ digital stories affect story viewers?

Methods: One hundred adults aged between 55 and 95 years participated in ten-week Elder’s Digital Storytelling courses and created short digital stories. Using the content analysis approach, the story transcripts were thematically analyzed and iteratively coded by three researchers and the results were quantified. A diverse group of 60 viewers at a public event provided their reactions to the digital stories.

Results: The findings revealed that character, place, and family were chosen as the primary types by the older adults for their legacy digital stories. Accomplishment and career/school were the next most prominent story types. Moreover, these digital stories appeared to have a powerful impact on the viewers.

Discussion: A digital story is a powerful artifact to communicate an older person’s legacy because it is based on familiar forms of communication, such as speech and photographs. The major legacy themes chosen by the older adults align with the findings of the research literature. The feedback from the viewers of the digital stories reflects these as a source of life wisdom and legacy for younger generations.

Funding details: This work was supported by the AGE-WELL National Centre of Excellence (AW CRP 2015-WP4.3).


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