Poetry and Dementia

The Alzheimer’s Project brings poetry to people with dementia. I tried this recently with memory impaired seniors, in an informal setting. The poems were taken from a standard anthology, but aren’t very diverse as I chose ones I thought would be familiar, and have been read or memorized by the folks I was working with.

The response was very positive, eliciting choruses of the right words. Here are some comments:

Sestina by Elizabeth Bishop—even as a young woman I knew it was wrong the grandmother was sad and had to raise the child alone—the worst!

Jabberwocky—does the younger generation still love it?

Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner—why is he telling that story? Why is he telling the wedding guest? Let’s skip some.

Song by John Donne—something upset him a lot at the end

Daffodils by William Wordsworth—Daff-o-dils!

Concord by Emerson—sounds like a classic

The Owl and The Pussycat—the best


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