Creative storytelling is catching on as a therapeutic tool for individuals with Alzheimer's disease—and their families. It is increasingly being used in adult day programs and other group settings. Pleased with the results, experts say families can adapt this technique for use in their home environments as well. Storytelling sparks memories, encourages verbalization and promotes self-esteem among those with dementia, according to healthcare professionals. "Inevitably, storytelling is about memories, but it opens the rules to include imagination and to create something new that accepts who they are and where they are in the moment. That's a great thing for families," noted Anne Basting, founder of the Milwaukee-based National TimeSlips Project. Renya Larson, a TimeSlips facilitator and the associate director of the National Center for Creative Aging, Brooklyn, NY, calls TimeSlips a "potent" tool designed for individuals in the middle to late stages of Alzheimer's disease who can no longer communicate through conventional methods. Participants can comfortably incorporate gestures, sounds and facial expressions into the story. For individuals still in the earlier stages, Larson suggested, "Creativity may be threatening. They want to hold on to the true stories they still have." However, it may be possible to adjust the program by including more reminiscence and current events. How-to of creative storytelling:
For more information, connect with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s licensed social workers. Click here or call 866.232.8484. Real People. Real Care.