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She has peripheral neuropathy in her hands. She’s 91, no dementia, but not at all tech savvy. Does not want me to be her “secretary”. I figure she could record herself, perhaps on a good old-fashioned tape recorder, but then how to turn that into a Word document?? (As you can see, I’m not all that tech savvy either!)

I have had students with muscular disabilities which left them unable to use the keyboard without struggle and frustration. We purchased a voice-recognition software product, DragonSpeak, which enabled them to do away with the keyboard yet keep up with the other students. It is Windows-based and very affordable. Review the product offerings before purchasing, there are multiple varieties tailored for different needs. You might benefit more from the general conversation-type which is NaturallySpeaking.
Good Luck, I hope this is a great experience for both you and your mom!
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Reply to Bumberella
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My friend loves writing. She is an avid reader. She took a memoir writing course at the university. She loved that course.

Look at the universities in your area and see if they offer any memoir courses. Get the professor’s email address and ask if they have any suggestions for you. If the professor can’t help he/she may be able to have a student help you with tips.

What a wonderful idea for her to fulfill. It will be something that will be cherished in your family and by many others.

A video recording sounds fantastic.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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In my school district, seniors have to do a project related to a possible career interest. This sounds like a win- win situation. Ask the local high schools, local colleges, churches for a tech- savvy student who needs community service hours. They can teach you, set it up, and become very popular among the residents. Maybe even start a business.
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Reply to jcondliffe
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-Hire someone from a high school English class for their "work hours" - some need them.
-Even talk to text sometimes is not the best as it will spell erroneously.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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You might see if there is a storyteller journalist that could interview her and create her story.A friend did this for folks. Or even a high schooler or college student might be able to assist her with organizing her timeline that she wants to cover and ask her questions to prompt her and cover all the areas she'd like to have preserved for her loved ones. Sounds like a wonderful thing she wants to do and I would encourage her.
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Reply to Avalon
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video mini stories on phone (send to YouTube) and using an old-fashioned tape recorder would make it easier on both of you.
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Reply to Taarna
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Isthisrealyreal Nov 29, 2019
I don't agree with sending it to YouTube. To much personal information on the internet is to dangerous to the entire family.
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I love the idea of video recording. If you could video and use something like google docs in tandem how awesome for future generations to be able to read or view great, great or even greater grandma tell her story.

91 years of change, what a story she has.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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They still have nice little Cassette players with recording setting, and there is built in microphone that she could speak into. It records on a regular size cassette tape.
Then someone could transcribe it into print for her. My parents did this and it is very interesting to hear their voices.

These are available for less than $50 and quite sturdy. I have one for my husband at a care center to listen to old time country music that I have recorded from LPs to cassettes for him. Works well.

Ruth
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Reply to Rutucker
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Olympus makes some very simple, very good digital recorders for under $100.00.
Dragon Naturally Speaking was state of the art 10 years ago when I was using it. It is pretty simple to learn and makes me feel like Star Trek: "Computer, what is the average air speed of an African swallow?" I am sure there is a way to directly input the recording to Dragon--and then to Word--digital all the way. Good luck
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Reply to mek1951
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I was a medical transcriptionist. Just use a dictaphone. Tapes can be mailed to a local transcriptionist who charges by the line, words or page. You might also investigate Amazon's book publishing. Google has some type of service in this area but I haven't used it.
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Reply to katiekat2009
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I used a tape recorder for my dad. My friend Transcribed it for us. It’s an old art but I’m sure you could find some one to do it
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Reply to jan135
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My mother told her life story on video about ten years ago. The process went well. The taping took a few months, but I could stop any time and resume. I sent copies to all family members.
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Reply to earlybird
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If there is a college or community college in your area, you might contact their English or communications departments. Helping a senior write his or her story is frequently used as a "service learning" component in some sections of advanced composition. Your mother tells her stories, the student records them (either in writing or digitally) and puts the stories together in written form.

There are also writing groups who still do "Tuesdays with Morrie" projects -- they visit interested seniors and write those individuals' stories.

Dragon Naturally Speaking, which GardenArtist mentioned, is good for dictation if your mother doesn't want anyone else involved. The training of the software doesn't take too long, and then the product works very well. I'm a writer and teacher myself, and I used it after I had carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists at once.
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Reply to EdithHankl
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The best thing I can think that if she has an iPhone because that’s all I have is there is a microphone in the corner right hand side bottom. Just press the button lightly and a speech thing will appear and all you have to do is speak into it and it will type whatever you say. The only thing you have to make sure of is that you say the word PERIOD. She still may need someone to look it over to make sure that she said the right word and that the keyboard understood her correctly. I have verbally written this entire note just by talking into the microphone. You can also use a tablet to see better I would suggest that she still find someone to look over what she has typed to make sure the right word was used.My husband has ALS and he cannot use his fingers so this has been a blessing. God bless you and I hope this helps happy Thanksgiving.
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Reply to anonymous808816
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I use google docs
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Reply to tacy022
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Dragon Naturally Speaking

https://shop.nuance.com/store/nuanceus/custom/pbpage.resp-dragon-naturallyspeaking-home-13

I've used it. She'll need to take some time to "train" it to recognize her speech patterns, accent, etc. Even then it's not perfect and the results will have to be carefully proof-read.
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Reply to NewandTrying
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katiekat2009 Nov 29, 2019
I retired from Nuance. They also developed "Siri" that we use on our phones.
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I don't know anything about the technology for transcription from a tape recorded, or even if it's possible since there are vast differences in the technology, i.e., tape recorders are "old school" and transcription through a computer is more contemporary.

If she did use a tape recorder, you would probably have to transcribe it by listening and typing.   That's kind of tedious.  

I'm guessing though that there are adaptations for people like Stephen Hawking, although they might be expensive.   What I would do though is check out these various hits:

https://www.google.com/search?ei=A03cXbjUMd6v0PEPjZ-5gAg&q=apps+for+dictation+and+transcription&oq=dictation+and+transcrtiption+for+&gs_l=psy-ab.1.1.0i22i30l2j0i333.957837.1077026..1084875...9.1..0.232.6882.8j48j1......0....1..gws-wiz.....6..0i71j0i67j0i273j0j0i131i67j0i131j0i362i308i154i357j0i10j0i13j0i13i30j0i8i13i30j33i10i160j33i10..10001%3A0%2C154.KBLspheNNDA#spf=1574719810150

Apparently there are some apps specifically for the purpose you address. 

You could also search and browse VA files, as they deal with a variety of adaptive devices for wounded Veterans.

But there are quite a few hits on the "apps for dictation and transcription" search listed above.  

Good luck, and please let us know if you decide on or try out any.  I'm sure this could apply to others here.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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