Comfort and Familiarity, Who Knew?
We certainly had no idea when we began introducing short stories into our Lifelong Learning program of the power contained within ten short pages. Is it the pleasant and often theatrical sound of the reader’s voice or the sense of accomplishment when a story is started and finished in a single session?
We rapidly discovered that while both of those things are important, the power held in the pages of a short story for persons living with dementia is evident in the outcomes. The outcomes can be described by two simple words: comfort and familiarity.
Reading old-fashioned stories by famous authors such as Mark Twain or Agatha Christie is comforting. The old-fashioned language is familiar and acceptable (no X-rated language in these stories). The period in which the story is written offers an opportunity for recall of important events. This familiarity generates comfort. Listeners are not forced into a world that they don’t understand but instead are taken back to a time in their lives when simple things were the best.
We use vintage stories by famous authors; many participants are familiar with the author’s name, but very few have ever read or studied their short stories. For those who have, they demonstrate a sense of happiness that the story is being read again.
Remember, Lifelong Learning for persons living with dementia is not about memorizing facts and statistics. It is about participating in a positive experience based on productive and meaningful engagement.
Not sure where to start? We can help; contact us, and we’ll set up a time to talk.