Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Power of Imagination: Our First TimeSlips Program

My Dad and I held our first TimeSlips program today and I think it went really well. TimeSlips is a group creative storytelling program for people with dementia created by Ann Basting, PhD in Milwaukee. TimeSlips focuses on helping people with memory loss to be creative and focus on imagination instead of focusing on trying to regain memory. Basically, the participants look at a picture and the facilitator asks some open ended questions which inspire comments that create a story. There are no wrong answers, and everything gets written down. This honors people's individuality, creativity, and ability to still contribute to the world. We love TimeSlips because it gives us a way to help ease the suffering this disease causes by having fun, giving people a way to participate tangibly in their community, and creating a supportive peer group.

A wonderful group of people came to our first session of TimeSlips and we had a great time with them. We hope they received benefits from the program and from being together socially. Mom was quite engaged and it was great to see her excited about creating the story. We did decide as a group to go forward with the program with weekly meetings, so if you are in the Cleveland area and want to participate, email me at

Here is one of our stories from today based on this photo by George Eastman House from the TimeSlips Storytelling Kit.

We've got a sweet little child there who is looking and thinking "Oh, can I have some goodies here?"

Goodies from Mom. Goodies are from the jar.

The dog would like to have something to do with it. Or, if not, he is going to have something to do with it soon. It's a golden retriever named Murphy.

Is the boy supposed to have those cookies? The dog thinks he should have the cookies.

The young man had a plan because he has a drink with him. He is going to have more than one cookie. His name is Alexander, he is a smart little one.

They are in the kitchen after school, in the afternoon.

Looks like he has a tear in the knee of his pants from playing baseball, climbing trees, and falling while he was running. He has a few treats.

He went into the kitchen and thought "I'm a little hungry, Mom isn't here, but the dog is."

Alexander got there first, Murphy heard Alexander getting the food, maybe he smelled the food too. They smelled peanut butter cookies and a fruit punch drink. He put jelly on the cookies. Murphy is going to pounce and take a few more steps and get the cookie. Golden retrievers love to eat. Alexander will be happy to share his cookies because he has a whole can of cookies so he won't run out.

Alexander and Murphy are not worried about dinner, they probably would like cookies better than dinner anyway.

Alexander is looking at his mother who just walked in, he's been discovered. He is not too worried about that though. They are in the moment, not thinking about anything but what is in front of them. He got some jam on his thumb, which he licks off just as his mother comes in.

The End


Rev. Katie


  1. So happy to see your family is being creative together! And so thoughtful of you to share your experiences with others - too many people go through this in isolation.

  2. Anne,
    Thank you for your amazing program and changing the lives of people with dementia and their families! It really helped us communicate with Mom better the rest of the day even.

    Rev. Katie