Study affirms benefits of personal legacy projects.

The reported benefits of family legacy videos are usually more anecdotal than clinical. But now and again an official study affirms what video biographers know: personal legacy projects often have profoundly positive mental and physical impacts on storytellers and their families. Who says so? Researchers at the University of Michigan and University of Alabama, that’s who.

The “Legacy Project” study is one of the first studies to examine the benefits of family life review efforts. The study concentrated on individuals with chronic, life-limiting illnesses, aged 60 and older. Researchers helped patients and their family caregivers create personal legacies in video or scrapbook formats; the participants were surveyed throughout the course of the project.

Less difficulty breathing, reduced stress and depression and greater social interaction are some the benefits documented by the study. According to co-author Louis Burgio, a research professor at the University of Michigan, “Working together on a joint project called a legacy improved the quality of life of both patients with life-limiting illness and their family caregivers.”

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