As memories fade and reality blurs, there's still one thing to cherish: imagination. As we watch loved ones "lose their mind" we don't have to fear that they will lose their freedom to create, thanks to a powerful and playful "improvisational storytelling" project called TimeSlips.
Since it was established in 1998, the TimeSlips Creative Storytelling Project, based out of the Center on Age & Community at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, has generated hundreds of stories that have been transformed into plays and art exhibits to "rekindle the hope for human connection among people struggling with dementia."
Using photos and word prompts to inspire participants' creativity, TimeSlips provides a fun, low-pressure way for people with dementia to spark their imaginations, connect with one another and with caregivers and family members, and express themselves without worrying about embarrassing memory lapses or "wrong answers." Visitors to the new site can sit with a person with dementia and read, create and share stories inspired by hundreds of images and questions in the site's library of prompts. Or they can work online with family members across the country to write a story together.
If you or someone you love is suffering from dementia, here are some ways to enjoy peace of mind using the TimeSlips method:
Create a Story: Choose an image—like a pair of penguins or a lady carrying an umbrella—and then tell a story about what you see.
Train: Through in-person or online training, get certified in sharing the value of creative expression for people with dementia.
Donate: Every little bit counts to help maintain the website and TimeSlips' training programs.