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A Brief Look at a Poetry Workshop for Elderly People with Dementia

Until recently, seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s only received pharmaceutical therapy. While the medications helped forestall the inevitable, they did little to enhance quality of life. Thanks to Molly Middleton Meyer and the revolutionary poetry workshop she created, aging adults with dementia may be able to enjoy a better quality of life.

Mind’s Eye Poetry Facilitation

Meyer is a poet who lost her parents to Alzheimer’s disease. She decided there had to be a better way of treating seniors with dementia and used poetry as a way to accomplish this. Her idea became Mind’s Eye Poetry, founded in 2013. The concrete results she has achieved have begun to give hope to caregivers who were previously devastated.

Poetry facilitation can help seniors boost their health, but it is not the only option available to them. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Bridgewater, NJ, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Mind’s Eye’s Mission

Meyer’s goal is to help people with dementia restore their self-worth, rather than solely focusing on the disease. Through poetry facilitation, she helps seniors access buried thoughts and memories and express those ideas. Meyer believes seniors with dementia are able to create poetry because they do not think in a linear way. Because of this unique characteristic, their poetry is at a level that is higher than the general population’s.

How It Works

Meyer works with people in every stage of dementia, from those with early-onset Alzheimer’s to those who are completely nonverbal. Each member of the group participates in creating a poem. As the session progresses, people who had no recollection are able to express abstract thoughts and those who have virtually no long or short-term memory discuss important memories that had been considered lost. Caregivers have reported they were pleasantly shocked by the results.

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Effect on Dementia Research

Because of Meyer’s commitment to this form of therapy, there has been an interest in the medical research community as to why poetry facilitation works. In 2015, BMC Geriatrics published a paper written by Bridget Johnston and Melanie Narayanasamy that states the effect of poetry on brain stimulation in seniors with dementia is valid and should be incorporated into their treatment plans wherever possible. It is hoped that more studies will be done to make poetry facilitation a standard therapy.

Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Bridgewater, NJ, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. To learn about our premier senior care plans, give us a call at 908.450.9400.