One of the exercises Kathryne Fassbender of the Dementia Letters Project uses with her dementia patients is TimeSlips, a storytelling and creative engagement process developed by Dr. Anne Basting of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Kathryne became a certified TimeSlips facilitator in 2016.
“With TimeSlips, we create a story using an image prompt and asking beautiful questions,” Kathryne says. “By doing this, we are helping those who are participating, whether they have dementia or not, to find purpose and creativity, and in doing that we are improving their quality of life and becoming relational, building community that they may not have had before.”
By relating to the dementia patient through this process, caregivers and staff can focus on and value patients for who they are now. TimeSlips.org offers the approach to “shift from the expectation of memory to the freedom of imagination.” The website offers over 300 free resources and activities.
As a classically trained pianist, Kathryne also enjoys integrating music into her work. Depending on the patient, they might just enjoy sitting and listening to music together, talking about their favorite composer, or Kathryne might have them do some drawings that incorporate the different types of movement the music had.
“Even if it’s just hitting middle C over and over again, we can create music with that,” Kathryne says. “It is tapping into that part of the brain that dementia cannot destroy.”
Read more about the Dementia Letters Project.
More dementia websites:
Books about dementia:
- Seven Steps to Managing Your Memory by Dr. Andrew Budson and Dr. Maureen O’Connor
- Dementia Reimagined by Dr. Tia Powell
- Start with Yes! A Unique Way to Communicate with Persons Living with Dementiaby Cathy Braxton and Tami Neumann