In this study, the significance of writing a life history was investigated through the Writing the Elderly’s Life History program conducted at Gyeongsangbuk-do Nursing Home. For the study, interviews were conducted for about 20 hours; three graduate students majoring in humanities counseling were the interviewers while three elderly people were the interviewees. The writing was conducted through continuous consultation while organizing the interview contents. The writing of the life histories conducted in this study included both the life of the narrative subject and the narrator’s perspective of the narrative subject in the writing. The overall frame of the writing was set as memory-present-view; the life of the narrative subject was to be written in the memory section; the perspective of surrounding people including the narrator looking at the narrative subject was to be written in the view section; and the present status of the narrator and the narrative subject was to be covered in the present section. Various factors affecting the writing process from finding a connecting link between the narrator’s life and the narrative subject to completing the piece of writing were observed and recorded while the writing results and interview materials were analyzed.
In this study, the significance of writing a life history was examined through factors of the subjects’ ‘narrative identity’ and ‘self-care’. First, the narrators could be observed overcoming their own problems through dealing with the story of the narrative subject. This resulted in the subjects’ finding their narrative identity and the narrative subject’s identity through the process of converting the narrative subject from ‘I’ to ‘the elderly subject’. In addition, it was possible to confirm a meaningful process in which the narrative subject, who had been losing language and memory, recovered their identity through the story of narrator. Next, through their relationship with the narrative subject, the narrator was able to tend to their own self-care and healing, focusing on her/himself. Through the narrative subject, the narrator could confirm the significant experience of getting to know themselves and the relationship they had established by encountering their own, previously avoided or ignored self-image. The discussion on writing a life history presented in this study can be expected to be used to prepare writing programs for the elderly and lifelong education programs for writing in the future.