This blog will be a place to post poetry written by people living with Alzheimer's disease. We will focus on poetry that is created as part of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project. We will post information and news about dementia. We hope this blog is of use to the family members who have a loved one with dementia.
One of the highlights of working on the APP is the people you get to work with. With all the dozens, if not hundreds of people, I have had the pleasure of working with, the only mother and daughter team we have had is Cari Griffo (to the far left in orange) and Willa Edwards (in the front in blue). Here they are with a group of poets in Albuquerque performing as a poetry chorus.
Also, pictured is Willa's dad and Cari's husband the artist Trent Edwards (to the far left). I know these long term friends not only through poetry and art, but Cari was also for many years my dental hygienist.
She has recently written and interesting essay on the connect between Gingivalis and Alzheimer's disease. The piece included a great story about Cari and Willa's time working with the APP.
JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, a peer-reviewed medical journal published my article, on performing and creating poetry with people living with dementia. Co-author Dan Kaplan, PhD and I are thrilled! It is the most in-depth description of my theory of what is happening at the neurological level, when you are performing poetry using call and response.
The paper is a call for further research and ends with, “Reciting poetry is unlikely to change the progression of dementia, but it can help change the narrative of how unaffected individuals and society perceive dementia. Changing that narrative to include examples of creativity and moments of joy, and the tantalizing possibility that it can positively affect the consolidation of new short-term memories into long-term memories, alters the perception of dementia from an experience defined by isolation and lost personhood to one of social vitality and enduring personhood. This shift may help combat the stigma of memory loss and promote more humane and effective care environments and therapeutic strategies for working with these patients.