Maggie and Thomas recently interviewed Gary Glazner, founder and Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project (APP). In this podcast, Gary explores the power of the arts in empowering individuals with a dementia diagnosis. Throughout the conversation, the group discusses the significance of creativity, ambiguity, expression, and sensory stimulation for these individuals and their families.
Established in 2013, the APP attempts "to improve the quality of life of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia by facilitating creative expression through poetry." APP was the recipient of the 2013, Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving Legacy Award, as well as the 2012 MetLife Foundation Creativity and Aging in America Leadership Award, in the category of Community Engagement. In 2013, the National Endowment for the Arts listed the APP as a “best practice.”
Mr. Glazner is also the author of “Dementia Arts: Celebrating Creativity in Elder Care,” on Health Professionals Press, 2014. Additionally, his work has been published by Harper Collins, W.W. Norton and Salon.com. Per the APP website, programming has reached 26 states domestically, as well as Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Poland, and South Korea, serving over 35,000 people living with dementia.
By Thomas Baird LCSW, MDiv
In this space, we will regularly be sharing resources that we find may be helpful for caregivers. The content provided is intended for informational purposes only. The materials included do not constitute an endorsement of the authors or their materials by Awkward Story.
TimeSlips offers training, guidance and resources promoting what they call "Creative Meaningful Engagement." They acknowledge that communication can be difficult for family members, and claim to provide tools and framework to create positive engagement and interaction. This post is certainly not an endorsement or a critique of their program. I am posting this because the primary advertisement below does a fine job at capturing the role of imagination and exploration in our efforts to engage our loved ones with dementia. In my opinion, they correctly identify the barriers that occasionally get in our way when we communicate in a traditional fashion. Please see the video below, and feel free to explore their website here.
They also provide an example of a creative story telling session which captures the myriad responses one might receive when prompting elderly individuals with pictures.
By Thomas Baird LCSW, MDiv
In this space, we will regularly be sharing resources that may be helpful for caregivers. The content provided is intended for informational purposes only. The materials included do not constitute an endorsement of the authors or their materials by Awkward Story.
The Alzheimer's Poetry Project (APP) was created by Gary Glazner to promote engagement and creativity among individuals with Alzheimer's, through poetry. Please feel free to review some of APP's media below. Like the TimeSlips program, this one promotes expression through creativity and imagination, rather than relying on concrete memories that might not be readily available.
Spoiler Ahead: We recently interviewed Gary Glazner and will be featuring the interview on our podcast in the near future. I started writing this post before we booked the interview, and published it after speaking with Gary.
Thomas Baird LCSW
Maggie Dawson MSW