Beyond Words is a not-for-profit initiative based in Melbourne. Our goal is to celebrate and value the rich lives of older people in our community.

More than producing books, our community of volunteer biographers help people in aged care tell their life stories.

We listen, transcribe, edit and publish these wonderful stories to share with family and loved ones. The process is simple and life changing for everyone involved. Find out what we do and how we do it.

More about Beyond Words

The need

Whilst our ageing population grows, admission to a nursing home is typically a time of great loss*: loss of independence, inability to fulfil important roles and loss of identity and meaning. Time spent in a nursing home can often be experienced as a period of neglect, loneliness, disconnection, grief and depression.

While many residents struggle to adapt to the many physical changes associated with ageing and illness, they have something uniquely valuable to contribute to the communities in which they live – their own unique life stories.

Beyond Words enables older people to share their life story and to be known, affirmed, valued and celebrated. Ultimately this can help sustain identity, create a sense of community belonging, cultivate critical relationships and enhance personal meaning and purpose in life.

*Depression is not a normal part of ageing and whilst 10-15% of older people living in the community suffer from depression, rates of depression in residential aged care facilities are 35% (BeyondBlue). Further, the aged population will increase rapidly around 4 times the long-term average between 2012 and 2028 (Productivity Commission, 2005)

Beyond Words is an initiative of The Biography Program (ABN 12 153 358 313). Based in Melbourne, Victoria, it is proudly supported by: Volunteering Victoria, COTA Victoria, Beyond Blue, The Trust Company, Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation, State Trustees