For seniors with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, the pressure to remember things can be one of the greatest sources of stress. Storytelling therapy can be a process for replacing the pressure to remember with the freedom to imagine.
How does it work?
Participants start with a silly photo and are guided through a process of creating a story about what is shown in the picture they’re given. This form of cognitive and behavioral therapy is thought to delay the progression of dementia. The process encourages communication with fellow residents, caregivers and family members.
“Laughter is contagious. Laughter is healing. And laughter can brighten the lives of people with dementia or Alzheimer’s,” said Joyce Vanderpool, one of the founders of The Creative Story Project.
The Story Power Program has worked with seniors at The Rosewood at Fort Oglethorpe. An Intergenerational Story Power program pairs students in schools or youth organizations with residents of the community.
“These students become enthusiastic about working with the seniors, and we are able to take them into a care community where they work with primarily dementia residents,” Vanderpool said. “It is a great experience for both the students and the residents. Sessions always include lots of laughter, hugs and invitations to return. And the students do return to visit their new friends and bring them love and hugs – and an enthusiasm for life that youth can provide.”
Written by: Steven Stiefel