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Alzheimer's careMemories and imagery arise when reading poetry, triggering stories of days past. Recently, University of Exeter researchers have been exploring poetry’s affect on the brain, and they’ve found that reading poetry can stimulate areas of the brain linked to memory.

The Alzheimer’s Poetry Project has been using the power of poetry to facilitate the creativity of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, and to help enhance Alzheimer’s care. According to the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, data indicates that a significant number of people in mid- to late-stage dementia remember words and lines from poems they learned in childhood. The project uses these memories to help engage clients and promote positive social interactions.

Molly Meyer, founder of Mind’s Eye Poetry, helps to facilitate the creation of group poetry by Alzheimer’s patients in Dallas, Texas. The following is a poem that the residents of Autumn Leaves, TX wrote together during one of Molly’s poetry sessions.

If happiness were a sound…

It would be loud like a beating heart,
the sound of children laughing,
church bells ringing, a choir singing,
the sound of clear blue days
when the sky sings love.

Creative pursuits in general have shown positive effects when used as part of an Alzheimer’s care plan. Art fosters health, communication and expression to promote the integration of physical, emotional, cognitive and social functioning. For people living with Alzheimer’s disease, this truly is important.

According to his research, creativity appears to be an area untouched, and for some even enhanced, by the disease. Even when memory is diminishing, the capacity for imagination is still there, and for some with dementia, their creative ability is even enhanced.

Learn more about the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, and check out The National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA), which is dedicated to fostering an understanding of the vital relationship between creative expression and healthy aging, and to developing programs that build on this understanding. The NCCA now has a list of creative programs, including those that are specific to people living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

At Regency Home Care, our caregivers and home health aides are specially trained in Alzheimer’s and dementia care to allow your loved one to remain safe, happy, and healthy at home for as long as possible. Along with the AlzBetter program, we use methods such as gentle encouragement, patience, engaging and creative activities and diversion therapy to help your loved one stay mentally and physically engaged, while also reducing challenging behaviors that can accompany the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. Contact us today for your free initial assessment that will help you determine the level of service you need, with each plan of care individually designed, updated and supervised by a registered nurse.