Poetry Workshop Benefits Seniors with Dementia

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Mind’s Eye Poetry: A Great Resource for Aging Adults with Dementia

By Mark Febus, 9:00 am on June 28, 2017

The Mind’s Eye Poetry workshop was started in 2013 with the mission of using poetry as a way for people to connect, celebrate life, stimulate memory, and empower seniors living with dementia. After losing both of her parents to Alzheimer’s disease, Mind’s Eye founder Molly Middleton Meyer invented the workshop as an alternative to treatment methods dependent on medications and lacking in creative stimulation. 

When seniors develop Alzheimer’s disease, family caregivers are not always able to provide the mental stimulation they need. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Dayton in-home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help.

How Mind’s Eye Poetry Workshops Work

Each Mind’s Eye workshop is theme-based, providing a focused structure to engage participants. The facilitator presents the theme, such as seasons or colors, and asks the seniors a series of open questions. Their answers to these questions form the foundation of the poems. Poetry’s nonlinear structure and format encourages seniors to explore, engage, and create ideas that are unhindered by judgments of rightness or wrongness. By the workshop’s end, each participant has a handful of poems he or she took part in creating. 

How Mind’s Eye Poetry Helps Seniors

The sense of accomplishment gained from participating in this workshop lifts the spirits of the participants and builds their confidence. Caregivers show gratitude to Meyer when observing their loved ones leaving a workshop with a new memory triggered or a long-absent smile returned. Such moments can be pricelessly precious for seniors and their caregivers. 

Caring for a senior with dementia can be challenging at times. However, this responsibility does not need to be undertaken alone. Dayton respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.

Better Poetry Through Dementia

Meyer says people with dementia tend to compose an objectively higher quality of poetry than other people. She suggests this may be due to a person with dementia having an easier time thinking nonlinearly, as poetry requires. However, the Mind’s Eye workshop is not about creating “better” poetry. In fact, not everyone who participates in the workshop necessarily possesses the skill set to compose poetry. According to Meyer, the effort to engage the creative imagination provides therapeutic benefits. 

Rewriting Dementia

Meyer says she is rewriting dementia with these workshops. Through her workshops, dementia no longer has to be associated with isolation, depression, and loneliness. Experiencing the sparks of memory and imagination triggered by the workshops reminds seniors of their connections to the past and present and the people around them. It also stimulates them mentally and emotionally in a way that naturally feels good and promotes further engagement. Engaging in creative activities can also delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in the senior years.

Recovering from a stroke, managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and a variety of other health-related situations can make it difficult for a senior to continue living at home without someone there to help. Dayton, OH, live-in care professionals are trained to help seniors who need 24/7 assistance. With the help of a live-in caregiver, your elderly loved one can maintain a higher quality of life while aging in place. To hire a dedicated caregiver for your senior loved one, call Home Care Assistance at 937-353-7997 today.

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