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Dementia Patients Benefit from Using Imaginations

Dementia Patients Benefit from Using Imaginations

Imagination is powerful, but can it actually improve some people’s quality of life?

That’s what TimeSlips’ founder, Anne Basting, asked herself in 1996.  So she steered dementia and Alzheimer’s patients away from reminiscent-based therapies, and led them towards improvisational and imaginative play.  What happened?  The patients were happier.  They interacted better with caregivers.  It even helped the staff become closer with the patients.

 How Does It Work?

According to futurity.org, the facilitator shows the seniors various pictures and asks each to describe what is happening in that picture.  When asked to use their imagination rather than memories, the seniors often become talkative, even giddy, as they say what they imagine is going on in the photo.  The facilitator writes down everything that is said, and then creates a “poem” of the descriptions.  During the much-anticipated sessions, there is laughter, community, and fun.  When reading the poetry (it is posted online), you can almost feel the warmth in the room.

Studies show that programs such as TimeSlips will improve the quality and quantity of life in seniors with dementia.  It also helps others see beyond the seniors’ dementia and helps them to relate.  The creativity brings everyone together.

TimeSlips makes poetry out of dementia patients’ imaginations.  To learn more, visit www.timeslips.org.

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