Carol, who I have worked with for the last seven months, has left for the summer to stay with her daughter.  She  was newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease when I met her (symptoms began about a year before that). We  have been doing a story at her house once a week since October.  She’s from a farm in Iowa and that farm shows up in most stories. Important people from her past lend their names to each character we encounter. Camp songs from outings with her family pop up out of nowhere and if the picture has any natural background you can count on a picnic with a country menu. Every session ends with her telling me how fun it was to reminisce. But the stories are not autobiographical. Who she really is just gets woven through each story.  What a pleasure it has been to watch this woman who struggles with remembering whether or not she has eaten, why she is living with her son, that she just returned from a trip to see a beloved grandchild, suddenly break free of the struggle and feel on top of her game. I asked her what she likes about storytelling and she replied, “It uplifts me”.  Though I told her, I don’t think she’ll ever really know how much working with her has lifted me up. I will miss her dearly.

About Jenny Cowell

Jenny Cowell has written 127 posts in this blog.

Jenny Cowell is a lifelong educator who started her career in Special Education and retired as a junior high librarian. She builds stories with people with Alzheimers and related dementia using the TimeSlips method. Jenny works with individuals in their homes and in day programs in memory care facilities.