TimeSlips Replaces Traditional Reminiscence Therapy

July 31, 2012

Reminiscence has traditionally been a vital way to stimulate communication and promote confidence and self-worth in people with dementia. Many people with progressive memory disorders are more comfortable talking about earlier times. The reason: because the area of the brain that stores long-term memory is affected much later in the disease's progression. Typically affected individuals will know more about what happened in their life a few decades ago than they know about what happened this week.

Layton Terrace, an assisted living provider, has used reminiscence as part of their therapeutic recreation program since its inception. More recently, creativity has been used as a way for people with cognitive challenges to communicate. Kelly Suha, Lifestyle Coordinator at Layton Terrace, recently incorporated TimeSlips into her programming for people residing in Spring House, a specialty area for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

TimeSlips is an innovative, inexpensive, and affective group storytelling method that helps people with dementia reaffirm their humanity and connect with staff, family, and friends. The concept was created by Anne Basting, the Director of UW-Milwaukee’s Center on Age and Community. Basting took improvisation and creative drama techniques and applied them to people with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Suha describes TimeSlips in a simple sentence, “We show the group a photo, ask them prompting questions, and write down their responses.” She has been facilitating TimeSlips for several months and has created some very unique stories. It’s a fairly simple, yet amazing creative outlet that invites people with dementia to express themselves and connect with others and replaces the pressure to remember with the freedom to imagine. The program has received national attention, and was featured on NBC’s The Today Show and NPR’s Morning Edition.

Layton Terrace is a Laureate Group senior community offering independent and assisted living apartments as well as compassionate dementia care. For more info visit www.laureategroup.com

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