Storytelling helps those with dementia

March 16, 2011 at 12:17 AM

COLUMBIA, Mo., March 16 (UPI) -- TimeSlips, a drug-free, storytelling intervention, improves communication skills and has a positive effect in those with dementia, U.S. researchers say.

Lorraine Phillips, assistant professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri, says the program -- appropriate for people with mild to moderate dementia -- encourages participants to use their imaginations to create short stories as a group.

Rather than relying on factual recall, participants respond verbally to humorous images presented by facilitators who record the responses and read narratives to end stories or develop them further.

"TimeSlips provides rich, engaging opportunities for persons with dementia to interact with others while exercising their individual strengths," Phillips says in a statement. "It encourages participants to be actively involved and to experience moments of recognition, creation and celebration. Meaningful activities, such as TimeSlips, promote positive social environments that are central to person-centered care."

The storytelling program is easy and affordable for long-term care facilities to implement and allows caregivers to interact with multiple residents at a time, Phillips said.

The findings are published in the journal Nursing Research.

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