Time Slips: Creative Storytelling


“Communication and words are where the disease of dementia really reveals itself”, says Anne Basting, Creator of the non-profit TimeSlips. “People learn to mistrust their words and even their own voice.” She created a community activity that is redefining the relationship people with dementia have with words. It has been featured on NPR, The Today Show and many newspapers.

Watching the activity, you would see the leader holding up a photo and inviting a group of seniors with dementia to make up a story about the subject of the photo. They begin to ask the group questions about the person in the photo such as, “What might this person’s name be? Where are they going? Do they have a family? What is their life like? What is the person feeling/ thinking? What do they do for a living? What are they going to do later? Through group storytelling individuals with the disease are able to focus on the freeing presence of imagination instead of a frustrating lack of memories.

This social activity is a tool to usher in joy, humor, connection, and a sense of play into the lives of seniors. The leader validates everything that is being said and records all the details of the corporate story on a large piece of paper. There is special joy in the room when their comments are reflected back to them in a positive way. “In this activity people with dementia are allowed to be creative and regain trust in their ability to communicate and make meaning”, said Anne Basting. To see a live demonstration of the activity click here.  For more information about the activity and how you can use it with your loved one visit www.TimeSlips.org.

Staying active and engaging in appropriate activities is so important to physical and mental quality of life for aging loved ones. If your loved one lives alone or has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, you may find yourself bearing the responsibility and guilt of their well-being. Don’t forget to reach out for help and not bear the burden alone. As experts in eldercare, our Care Managers and In-Home caregivers form an elite team that help engage older adults in physical activity, hobbies, and mentally stimulating activities, etc. Their presence and companionship can remove barriers to activity, such as transportation, and make all the difference in the world.  

Published on April 10, 2013.