Alzheimer's Poetry Project
The idea: The Alzheimer's Poetry Project helps facilitate the creativity of people living with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia.
Gary Glazner is the founder and Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project, (APP).
The National Endowment for the Arts listed the APP as a “best practice” for their Arts and Aging initiative. Glazner is an internationally recognized speaker and expert on using poetry with people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia and has given Glazner has given talks at over 30 conferences. NBC's “Today” show, NPR's “All Things Considered” and Voice of America have featured segments on Glazner’s work. Harper Collins, W.W. Norton and Salon.com have published his work. Glazner has worked with many institutions using their art to inspire the performance and creation of poetry by people living with memory loss including the Museum of Modern Art. In 2010, the U.S. Embassy in Berlin funded a pilot project for the APP in Germany, this work has led to the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw is funding a pilot project for the APP in Poland in 2012. To date the APP has held programming in 22 states and served over 10,000 people living with dementia.
APP engages people navigating memory loss in an exciting call and response performance during the first half of the workshop. The session leader recites lines of classic, well-loved poems and the group joins together in echoing the words. During the second half of the workshop the well-known poems serve as inspiration and models for a communal creation of an original poem. Each session ends with a performance of the group’s newly created poem, giving recognition to the lines and words the participants have contributed. We seek to bond together as a community built on shared words, passions, and discoveries through the performance and creation of poetry.
We have had success in teaching family members, health care workers, students, teachers and artists to use the Alzheimer's Poetry Project techniques and methods. The our teaching manual "Sparking Memories: The Alzheimer's Poetry Project Anthology," has essays on the techniques we have developed in the APP, essays on why care giving matters and on the medical implications of using poetry with people living with dementia. The book contains 50 classic well- loved poems we use in the project and examples of poems that we have created in the project.
There is an interview with Pete Beeson who has documented his experience with dementia in poetry and four of his poems.
We publish poems on people experience with cognitive impairment at:
Book: Sparking Memories: The Alzheimer's Poetry Project Anthology
Videos about the Alzheimer's Poetry Project can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/user/alzpoetry?feature=mhee