Before you begin, know your audience. The Alzheimer’s Association is a great place to begin to learn about how people with the disease view the world and their environment. Go to their website at www.alz.org and read about what is known about the disease and new breakthroughs in research and treatment.
•Aim to provide a calm, controlled environment. Speak slowly and clearly. Don’t shout, do enunciate.
•Explain the process and then explain it again.
•Remember the process is more important than the poem.
•Stop and ask questions to invite the participants in.
•Remember, poems are about the senses, sensations, feelings and emotions.
•What is your favorite flower, color, song, food?
•Place of birth
•Questions that are whimsical
•Questions that don’t have any right answer.
It’s not necessary to avoid the “heavy” topics of death and illness, but don’t dwell on these. Aim for a positive, loving experience. Give feedback and encouragement throughout the workshop. Let everyone know they are doing great just by being there and that everyone’s contribution, no matter how small, is important. Being there, just being there, is their greatest contribution.
Read the poem as you are crafting it for sound and to keep giving participants clues about where you are in the process and where you are going.
•Write poems of praise and gratitude.
•Seek wisdom in unexpected places.
•Savor the detours and digressions that arise from the dialogue.
Contact Magdalena Montagne for full lesson plans or more information. 831-252-5776