Alzheimer’s Creative Storytelling

Storytelling has always been an integral part of the human experience. We use it to pass on our history to future generations, to teach the beliefs of our culture, to entertain, remember, and to process our thoughts and emotions. One of the most important reasons for stories is to build a sense of purpose for individuals and for communities. This need for a meaningful life is the basis for Alzheimer’s Creative Storytelling.

In my work with Creative Storytelling I utilize a method developed by TimeSlips (see below) to assist people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia in purposeful connection. Participants in the storytelling experience enter with the role of a sick person, and by the end they have a new role and purpose: they are storytellers who have added something of value to the world.

 

Method / Procedure:

Working with Alzheimer's patients

Participants in individual or group settings are presented with an array of engaging photographs and are asked to select one from which a story will be created. The facilitator then leads an interactive and dynamic discussion about the selected picture while scripting responses. Stories are retold from the script throughout the session. The focus is on the ability of the participants to engage and become tellers of stories. Songs that might fit within the story are sung or hummed. Storytellers might act out dialogue or actions. The atmosphere is playful and creative but the stories often reflect the participant’s past within an imaginative scenario. A celebration of participants as storytellers concludes the event.

 

The TimeSlips program:

TimeSlips is research driven program for use with people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia developed to rebuild a sense of belonging and purpose in those who are slipping away. Not only does the person with ADRD benefit from the interactions but current research is suggesting that caregivers who practice this technique are also benefiting from the experience; they are becoming more sensitive to the needs of the individuals they serve and more positive in their interactions.

For more on research and Timeslips please click here.