I just read the most uplifting story on NPR’s Health blog. It is about a program called TimeSlips. “The idea is to show photos to people with memory loss, and get them to imagine what’s going on — not to try to remember anything, but to make up a story.” What an amazing idea. The person with dementia doesn’t have to try to remember something about their own life, which is often frustrating for both them and their family members. Yet, it does allow them to communicate, something they may not be able to do otherwise: “An independent study published in Nursing Research showed participants were happier and better able to communicate in general.” The story’s closing quote says it all: “Basting [TimeSlip’s founder] tells of one man who came to her in tears of thanks. For the past three years, he had been driving his wife crazy, trying to get her to talk about shared memories. He tried her on storytelling so they could talk about the story and play with the plot line. And eventually, he was able to communicate with her again.”
Of course, this story has me thinking of the great program opportunity this could be for public libraries. You could have a training session for TimeSlips facilitators. You could have a facilitator do a session for people with dementia and their families. You could have a facilitator talk to family members about how they could use the program with their loved one at home. Perhaps you can think of other ways to incorporate this into a library program?
I’m especially pleased to see that TimeSlips is based right here in Wisconsin!