You are currently viewing Dementia Communication Tips with Alzheimer’s Poetry Project’s Gary Glazner

Dementia Communication Tips with Alzheimer’s Poetry Project’s Gary Glazner

Episode #39December 23, 2020

In my work with people caring for loved ones with dementia, I often hear comments like: “they’ve become a stranger to me” or “I don’t even recognize them anymore”.

Dementia is a devastating illness that often robs families of the opportunity to connect and experience joy.  Because of this, it’s essential that we find a way to share connecting moments, enjoy one another, and see a little piece of the person eclipsed by the shadow of this devastating illness.

And, I have just the person to help us with this!

In this week’s episode, I interview Gary Glazner, the founder and Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project. In this interview, Gary generously shares with us strategies facilitating communication and connection with our loved ones with dementia and even shares about his own experience bringing poetry to his mom at the end of her life.



Here’s a sneak peek at what you’ll learn from my interview with Gary Glazner:

  • [04:06] Gary talks about using poetry with his mom in her final month of life. The good, the bad, and the hummingbird feeder.
  • [06:45] Relationships with our aging parents are not always easy. Gary opens up about his relationship with his mom.
  • [08:00] Gary shares the first of four techniques for using poetry, Call and Response
  • [10:41] There are many challenges that come with caregiving. Gary describes how the use of poetry help to foster joy and emotional connection.
  • [10:35] Gary describes three dementia arts groups (links below)
  • [12:04] Gary shares why the technique of call and response is so powerful to people living with dementia.
  • [15:21] Researchers are looking at what happens to the brain and the physiological benefits when reciting poetry and using call and response.
  • [13:14] Gary gives tips for how to use poetic techniques one on one.
  • [19:00] The second technique is to have discussions around the poem and the use of props as the third technique
  • [23:15] The fourth technique, to create a poem with your loved one, is shared.
  • [26:10] Using poetry helps caregivers to slow down (for even 5 minutes) to connect in a deep way with your loved one.
  • [28:01] Gary reveals what he’s learned about people living with dementia over the past 20 years.
  • [34:37] But wait! There’s more! Gary shares a poem that he wrote about his parents’ experience migrating west from Oklahoma (there’s even a harmonica)


In this episode, Gary gives real life and tactical examples of how you can use these strategies in a group or one-on-one. If you’re caring for an aging parent with dementia, or simply value human connection, this is a must watch episode!






About Gary Glazner and The Alzheimer’s Poetry Project

Gary Glazner is the founder and Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project. The Alzheimer’s Poetry Project was the recipient of the 2013 Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving Legacy Award and the 2012 MetLife Foundation Creativity and Aging in America Leadership Award. The National Endowment for the Arts listed the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project  as a “best practice.”  NBC’ “Today” show, the PBS News Hour and NPR’s “All Things Considered” have featured segments on Gary Glazner’s work. Gary Glazner is the author of Dementia Arts: Celebrating Creativity in Elder Care. In 2014, Glazner began working in the Arts and Corrections field with his Poetry and Improv program, at the Unit for the Cognitively Impaired, at Fishkill Correctional Facility in upstate New York. In 2016, Glazner designed and co-taught “Creativity in Elder Care,” for the University of Arizona Medical School. In 2016, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Gary launched “Poetry for Life,” an intergenerational program that brings students of all ages together with people living with memory loss to perform and create poetry. The Alzheimer’s Poetry Project has provided programming in 32 states and internationally in Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Poland and South Korea.


Learn more about Gary Glazner and the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project!


Here are some of the dementia arts groups that Gary mentioned:


Gary Glazner 0:00
I was in the group and there was this guy, his head was down, not participating at all. This is my story I share, you know, with many, many people and my moment of inspiration. So I said the Longfellow poem, I shot an arrow into the air, and his eyes popped up. And he said, it fell to Earth. I knew not where. And suddenly he was with us again, I was just like, wow, this is really powerful. And so he participated. And I, I knew I had something. It took a while to officially start the awesomeness portion project. But that was to 1997. And, and then in 2003, I formally started the Alzheimer's poetry project. And we've now done programming in 34 states and six different countries. So what we're going to talk about is, we're going to talk about the techniques that I've developed, and we've used him in all kinds of different cultures, and in many different languages.

About the Psychology of Aging Podcast

Dr. Regina Koepp 00:48

I'm Dr. Regina Koepp. I'm a board certified clinical psychologist and I specialize with older adults and families. I created the psychology of aging podcast to include older adults in conversations about mental health and wellness. And here's why this is important. When we're all a little more informed about mental health for older adults, we reduce suffering and improve quality of life. And who doesn't want that? So join me, it's simple. All you have to do is listen, be willing to learn, and then share what you learn with others so that they can be included in this conversation, too. Alright, let's get started.

About Gary Glazner and the Alzheimer's Poetry Project

Today, I have a very special guest. Gary Glazner is the founder and executive director of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project. The Alzheimer's poetry project was the recipient of the 2013 innovations in Alzheimer's Disease Caregiving Legacy Award and the 2012 MetLife foundation Creativity and Aging in America Leadership Award. The National Endowment for the Arts listed the Alzheimer's Poetry Project as a best practice. But that's not all. NBC Today Show the PBS News Hour and NPR's All Things Considered have featured segments on Gary Glazner's work. Gary Glazner is also the author of Dementia Arts: Celebrating Creativity and Eldercare. And in 2016, With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Gary launched Poetry for Life, an intergenerational program that brings students of all ages together with people living with memory loss to perform and create poetry. The Alzheimer's Poetry Project has provided programming in 32 States and internationally in six countries. And today, Gary Glazner will share tips that you can use to improve the connection with your own loved one who's living with dementia. Gary even shares how we use some of these strategies with his very own mom, at the end of her life.


Gary Glazner 3:11
My mom, Frankie had cancer and the cancer had spread to her brain. And so she she didn't have you know, Alzheimer's disease, but she definitely had dementia type behavior, especially around language and somewhat around memory as well. So my father, Billy, so Frankie, and Billy, and they were childhood sweethearts, and they grew up in Oklahoma. And they became boyfriend and girlfriend at age five and six. So my father called One day, and maybe you're like this, or maybe, you know, caregivers are like this as well. He never would ask for help. You know, he just he was doing it all himself. And we would go in over and you know, have dinner and stuff, but he just wouldn't call for help. And one morning, he called and he said, Your mom's really upset. She's really agitated. She's asking for cherry ice cream. Could you please go get some ice cream. So I drove over to the store, I got the cherry ice cream. And this moment is so strong for me. I was getting the ice cream out of the car. And I had all the books with me from the poetry workshop. And I just thought I just it just, you know, came and me I should bring the books in and use them with my mom and try some of the techniques with her. And so I brought them in and she had the ice cream and that really helped. It calmed her down. She was much less agitated. And you know, I said, You know, I have these books and I'd like to read a poem to you. And so one of the poems in the book, so a little rhyme was Can she bake a cherry pie Billy Boy. Now my mom had teased my dad with this when they were kids. So on the playground in the little town in Oklahoma where they grew up She would sing that, you know, can she bake a cherry pie Billy Boy, and tease him. And so I started to say it. And she started to do these little hand motions. It was so beautiful kenchi Baker, cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy. And again, it was this, you know, moment of playfulness and joy and fun and stepping outside of, you know, what was, my mom was in hospice, and she passed away about a month after that. But at that moment, we were able to step outside and be all together and sing this song, and just be a family. And so that, that reinforced to me, what happened in the sessions, and really hit home to me how powerful this these were, you know, poems and singing and movement. And all that could be I'll share with you another story with my mom, because I know many of the caregivers at home will also have this experience, things do not always go exactly planned the way you want them to go. So there was another day, this was after I had, we'd done the cherry pipe bowl. And I was sitting in my mom's room, and she was kind of drifting in and out of sleep. And I was sitting, there was like a little chest at the end of the bed, I was sitting down there. And I and my mom is born in May. And so there's a particular resonance with me with sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare, because it starts off it says, shall I compare thee to a summer's day, thou art more lovely and more temperate, Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May. And so in my, you know, feel for the poem, my mom was the one a darling but of may being born in May. And so I was reciting that poem, you know, and I was, you know, kind of saying it with, you know, some enthusiasm, and I got to the end, and it says, you know, so long as men can breathe, their eyes can see, so long lives this. And this gives life to the, and my mom opened her eyes. And she said, What the hell are you doing in my room. So that that also shows that even though there's connection happening, that it often can be humorous and doesn't work exactly the way you want it to work, the room or the bedroom, my parents bedroom, opened out onto a garden. And my father had put a hummingbird feeders outside of the window. And so towards the end of my mom's life, that was a really pleasurable thing for her, she could lay in bed and look outside. And these little hummingbirds would come and flit around and get their, you know, their red juice and have a drink and stuff. And that that was a really beautiful thing to experience as well.

Dr. Regina Koepp 7:53
What was your mom, like, as a mom growing up?

Gary Glazner 7:58
So, um, so actually, that this sort of bonding that we had over this, towards the end of her life was very healing, we did not have the easiest relationship, I think we were too much alike. And so and also, you know, so my father had his career was in the Border Patrol and the immigration service. And then he retired. And my mom bought this flower shop that she had been, it was a neighbor, who owned it, and she had been working there for a few years. But it was sort of and they even talked about this, they even said that it was her time. And so my dad supported her in her dream, as she had supported him all those years in his career. And so that was a really special time for her. So but you know, it was it was hard with my mom and I, we really butted heads a lot. And so this is very healing at the end to be able to come together and spend time together. So shall we dig into the the techniques that we use for each project? So there's, I'm ready. And the first one is common response, and common responses where one person says a line of poetry, and then has the group or you can do it one on one, and the person or the group says it back to them and that way, you can perform poems together. So would you like to try it?

Dr. Regina Koepp 9:26
I would, yes.

Gary Glazner 9:28
Okay. So what we're going to do is I'm going to say a line of poetry and Regina is going to repeat it after me. But if you're watching at home, you can also repeat it with Regina, so you get to learn the technique as well. So we're going to start with what's called a ditto. So this is a Spanish saying or proverb. So we're going to do it first in Spanish and then English. All right, you ready?

Dr. Regina Koepp 9:51

Dr. Regina Koepp 9:52

Gary Glazner 9:53
All right. I'll say it. Then you say it. got it.

Gary Glazner 9:56
Pan es Pan.

Dr. Regina Koepp 9:58
Pan es Pan.

Gary Glazner 10:00
Queso es queso

Dr. Regina Koepp 10:03
Queso es queso

Gary Glazner 10:05
y no hay amor

Dr. Regina Koepp 10:07
y no hay amor

Gary Glazner 10:08
si no hay un beso.

Dr. Regina Koepp 10:10
si no hay un beso.

Gary Glazner 10:13
mwah. mwah. mwah. Beso Beso Beso

Dr. Regina Koepp 10:17
Beso Beso Beso

Gary Glazner 10:19
Abrazo. that's our virtual hug. All right, so let's do an English and then we'll talk about it.

Dr. Regina Koepp 10:27

Gary Glazner 10:28
I'll say it use it. And notice, I'm giving gestures to reinforce that I want. You know, like I'm saying it now it's your turn. All right, here we go. Bread is Bread.

Dr. Regina Koepp 10:38
Bread is bread

Gary Glazner 10:39
Cheese is cheese

Dr. Regina Koepp 10:43
Cheese is cheese

Gary Glazner 10:43
without a kiss,

Dr. Regina Koepp 10:45
without a kiss.

Gary Glazner 10:49
Kiss, kiss, kiss,

Dr. Regina Koepp 10:50
kiss, kiss kiss,

Gary Glazner 10:52
there is no love.

Dr. Regina Koepp 10:53
There is no love.

Gary Glazner 10:58

Dr. Regina Koepp 10:58

Gary Glazner 10:58
So, you'll see that when we're using poetry, with people living with dementia, we can easily add in humor. And we can add in touch. So in that poem, you might hug the people that you're doing it with or hug the person. And so that can be, you know, another way to connect another way to use art as a communication tool. Because that's really what we're talking about is how can we use poetry and music? Singing dance, visual arts? How can we use them to connect with people. And one of the reasons why it's so important and so powerful is because if you're a caregiver, you have so much to do, to keep that person safe, to keep them healthy, keep them clean, you have just, it's just can be it can be overwhelming for people. And we know that there can be caregiver burnout. So this is a way to step outside of that for a moment, maybe it's five minutes, maybe it's 10 minutes, maybe, maybe you're taking a walk together. But it's a way to use arts as a communication tool, so that you can have some fun, some moments of joy, some moments of laughter, emotional connection. So that's our goal, with the Alzheimer's poetry project and with many of the various dementia arts groups, because there are wonderful groups as well, maybe we could put links to them as well, because there's, there's one called time slips, which is a storytelling project. There's another one called Kairos alive, which is a dancing project, using movement and one called songwriting works, which is all about creating songs together, and all similar techniques. So let's talk just a little bit about calling response and some of the reasons like why is it so powerful? Why is it works so well? So first of all, so I'll just ask you, Regina, you can you can answer and the people at home can think in their lives. Where have you heard common response being used? If you have? Have you heard it in your community?

Dr. Regina Koepp 13:22
Yeah, I've heard it in church.

Gary Glazner 13:23

Dr. Regina Koepp 13:25
In yoga. Yes, yes. Yeah, I'm in classrooms. So having the teacher ask you to repeat. Um, I think three that stand out. Yeah.

Gary Glazner 13:40
Yeah. Especially for little kids. I'm doing a lot of work with preschoolers now. Teaching them a poem, and then we go visit the neighbors and I'm working at two locations in New York that preschools and Adult Day programs are housed in the same building. So it's quite easy to do. Almost all religious ceremonies have some elements of common response. The most famous example is one person standing here, two people standing here and they say, repeat after me Do you take so the marriage vows is a form of common response and certainly like the Catholic liturgy, shouting out man and gospel services are all elements of common response. How about this one? Did you ever did you ever hear this one? Regina Regina, she's our woman if she can't do it, no one can go Regina. Right. So yes, cheerleading is a form of call and response. And that can be very fun to do with groups you know, makeup cheers for each other. We've had a lot of success. Adding cheers to Bingo. So bingo sometimes gets a negative, negative rap of being you know, it's how artistic is it? I think it can be great. But when you do a cheer for the person after they win. Then you're adding in this sort of artistic element, especially an exercise groups as well too. Let's do a little bit of exercise. So I'm just going to go like this. And I'll say the poem and then you repeat after me and you can do it at home. So here we go, ready? Let's do the movements together. Here we go. Tiger Tiger,

Dr. Regina Koepp 15:21
Tiger Tiger

Gary Glazner 15:22
burning bright,

Dr. Regina Koepp 15:24
burning bright

Gary Glazner 15:25
in the forest

Dr. Regina Koepp 15:27
in the forest

Gary Glazner 15:28
of the night

Dr. Regina Koepp 15:30
of the night.

Gary Glazner 15:31
Tiger, Tiger,

Dr. Regina Koepp 15:32
Tiger, Tiger,

Gary Glazner 15:34
burning bright

Dr. Regina Koepp 15:35
burning bright

Gary Glazner 15:36
it's almost like a disco dance- in the forest

Dr. Regina Koepp 15:39
in the forest

Gary Glazner 15:41
of the night

Dr. Regina Koepp 15:42
of the night.

Gary Glazner 15:45
Roar. so you can do it with a you know, adding movement to it and exercise. So just really powerful common response now an interesting thing for me as a person who's wanting to always learn about this right and and to try to get better at it and understand it more is to understand like, What's the idea of what's going on biologically, when we're doing this. And so we know there's a study that shows that reciting poetry using column response is a stress reducer. So it lowers the heart rate. So that came out of Germany a few years ago. So we know that's happening. But we also know that when we're saying the word, so I'm saying that we're repeating after me, what we're doing is we're causing our brain to fire neurotransmitters across the synapse. So this gets into a little bit of biology, but we've got our, you know, neuro nervous system, and we have these axons and neurons in the brain. And we know that if we, if we create a short term memory, it means that this neuro transmitter has shot across the synapse, this little space between the denverites. And we know that if it's a long term memory, so like, if you're watching this, and you remember, tomorrow, hey, there was this big red faced guy doing poems. And I remember that, that means you've created a new synaptic connection. And if it lasts, if it becomes a long term memory, which often is associated with an emotion that happens, right, so like for me, I really strongly remember that moment, when my mother began to say, Can she bake a cherry pie? Billy Boy, it's almost like a, you know, like a television episode inside my brain, I can see it, it's, you know, reliving it, and that means I'm re firing those neurotransmitters. Let's talk a little bit about how would we use this one on one. So, you know, I'm primarily working in assisted living centers, adult day programs, skilled nursing homes, but for the people at home, they may be mostly concerned about how do they do this with their loved ones. So you would find a poem that you resonates with them in some way or resonates with you. And then you would say to them, I'd like to share this poem with you. And that may be weird, because you've never done it before.

Gary Glazner 18:40
But you could say, you know, I want to, I want to try this. And I'm going to say a line of poetry and you repeat after me that way we can perform it together. So telling the person what you want them to do. And then oftentimes, I'm not going to do the whole poem, I'm only going to do a few lines. So you can find lines that really resonate and really make sense to you. And we're going to try saying them with different emotions, that's one thing to do. We can kind of make a chant out of it, you saw that I was kind of making them musical. That's another technique. You can add touch. So you can gently move. I don't know if we can do this. Can I can I reach through and grab your hand? Oh, there it is. And I'm going to move your hand to the rhythm of the poem. So we're just doing that. And then that way, we have this emotional connection, and we're making eye contact and singing, you know, adding songs to it is a great way to do it as well. So, and again, we're just trying to find, can we use this to step outside of our daily activities, just for a moment, and where it leads us. So that's our number one technique is called response and we'll go quickly through the other three. So the second technique is to have discussions around the poems, so we started with this Spanish deejo. Bread is bread cheeses cheese without a kiss, there is no love. So one thing that we do with that, well, let me go. We'll come to that in a second. So what would you ask? With that poll? What? What might you ask me to have a discussion around?

Unknown Speaker 20:26
Yes, I would be curious. When was your last ham and cheese sandwich?

Gary Glazner 20:33
Yeah. Right. So just something really simple like that. And just talking about that, or, you know, do you like bread? As you know, have you had, you know, do what, what do you think of warm bread, you know, that kind of thing.

Dr. Regina Koepp 20:48
Mm hmm.

Gary Glazner 20:49
So those kinds of questions, anything to engage the person in discussion. So that's our second technique. And the third technique number three, is to use props, something that person can hold, smell and touch. Now, with that particular poem, I was working in Florida. And this group, it was so great, they brought in warm, freshly baked bread. And so we recited the poem, and then they brought it around, and people could could take a bite of it. And it just, it just was so stimulating. So if you're less verbal, because you're further along in the progression of dementia, that can be your success, right? Is it you smell the bread? Or maybe you're doing flower poems, and you smell the roses or take the rose petals and touch the person's cheek or the back of their hand? So the idea with the props is anything that you can stimulate the person's senses. So let's let's do it at home, you could be thinking as well, but through you, Regina, let's think of a theme. And what proper group of props would you support it with?

Dr. Regina Koepp 22:02
Um, yes, so I maybe the ocean or the beach or water?

Gary Glazner 22:07
Yeah. Ocean Beach. And so what we that's our theme. So what are you going to bring in to stimulate the senses?

Dr. Regina Koepp 22:16

Gary Glazner 22:18

Dr. Regina Koepp 22:18
Or sand? Yeah. Water even in a bowl?

Gary Glazner 22:24

Dr. Regina Koepp 22:25
some cool water? Um,

Gary Glazner 22:28
how about a beach ball?

Dr. Regina Koepp 22:30
Oh, that's great. A beach towel.

Gary Glazner 22:35
Yeah, so all these things are things that people can touch can smell, maybe even tastes like the bread where they can actually taste it. One group I worked with in Wisconsin, it was a beautiful spring day. And they brought in a little spray bottle, a little Mr. And then they they sang. April showers bring May flowers and raindrops keep falling on my head. And they sprayed the people's cheeks with it. And then they had fresh lemonade, and fresh strawberries. And the lovely, it was a really, really great, great session. So that's our number three technique is using props. And these can be used in conjunction with reciting the poems as we're showing how to perform together. Or you can just do the props I could imagine, you know, like, you're around dinner time. And, and we do this naturally anyway. But we're looking at this as this is a skill, we can look at it as a skill and we can get better at it. So you're cooking dinner, it's a natural thing to share tasks, and maybe maybe somebody's you know, getting the lettuce ready or chopping up carrots or something. But then you're going to smell the food a little bit and taste it. And especially if you're making soup or something like that, if the aroma and just bring in a person's attention to it. That's part of it. You know, like how do we use props, we bring their attention to it so that they are allowed to focus on it and to express how it's, you know, how it's affecting them. So that's our third technique, our number four technique is to create a poll. And when we so in a session, we would maybe do three or four poems doing the common response. We might talk about them a little bit. We might have a prop that supports it. And then we're going to say, Would you like to try creating a poem together? Hopefully someone will say yes. And so what we do is we ask open ended questions around the theme. So with our Pon espon. case was case of Besa Besa Besa. We've had great success with asking about people's first kisses and they talk about their first kiss Right, so we ask the open ended questions, and then we write down their answers. And then that becomes the lines of our poem. So now we've created a new poll. And we'll end the session then performing it using common response. But the first time I did this was in, in Milwaukee. And it was at the Latino geriatric Center, which is a great, great organization, but it has an adult day program. And so we were doing the poem, we're doing it in Spanish in English, and the session leader is bilingual, so she's able to translate on the fly. And so we started to ask people, you know, what was your first kiss like, and so, one woman said, Well, my father didn't want me to kiss boys. And, you know, very typical normal thing for someone to experience. But she said she would meet her boyfriend, down by the river. That was the place where she had her first kiss, it opens up this emotional space for people. And we often explore the subject through our senses. So we started to talk about what a kisses tastes like. And so one of the women raised her hand and she said, Well, my first kiss tasted like beer. So it can be, can be a place where people can be humorous and express things. And, you know, they're often very surprising the answers that you get,

Dr. Regina Koepp 26:29
So let's just review them, how many are there total. So we've done 4

Gary Glazner 26:34
Four main techniques call and response, discussion starter, using props, and creating a poem by asking open ended questions. So those are the four main techniques and there's a, you know, lots of things that come off of that, including, you know, using humor, and singing and moving and all those kinds of things. But those are the core. And you can really treat them like ingredients. And so each session can, you know, have depends on the group or the person, maybe more of its discussion.

Dr. Regina Koepp 27:09
And these techniques, I really appreciate that you're sharing how people can use them at home. And then how busy caregivers are how much they have to manage their own health, their aging, parents health, or their loved ones health, their basic needs. And it's so task oriented. I think caregivers don't have a lot of time to really engage in the relationship. Yeah, and then, and then if the person has advancing dementia, they don't know how to engage in the relationship. And these techniques are so useful to, to just slow, give permission to slow down a little bit. And some guidance on how to do it in just five minutes. It's so useful, Gary, I really appreciate all of the methods you're sharing. What have you learned about people living with dementia? Like what's been one of the biggest surprises?

Gary Glazner 28:08
So I think the biggest thing and it is a challenge is to not think that I know what the response is going to be or not think I know. You know how the person is going to behave or anything like that. I mean, being open to that is is a real skill, as a caregiver, and as a person, of course, just being open to what's happening in the moment with you. But certainly with people living with dementia, that's a real skill. And I remember one group, this was actually the place I worked with this morning, but this was a couple years ago. And there was one of the gentlemen in the group is pretty nonverbal. And you know, but I still ask him the open ended question, then the question we were working with was, what's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen? And he stopped and thought for a minute, because often you have to, you know, you don't want to embarrass the person, but you have to give the chance for them to respond, can't just move on, that's part of not thinking, you know, what's gonna happen. And so he thought for a minute and he said, the most beautiful thing I've ever seen as a race car. And his wife happened to be in that session that day, that's not that typical that the family's there, but she was there. And she got to experience her husband answering that when there's so much loss and she got to see just a glimpse of what that person was like that she fell in love with. Part, along with all of the issues around dementia is just the stigma. And family and friends can drop off. They don't know how to be with people. They don't know how to communicate. So that's why we're stressing these artistic techniques to connect with people. But those those public events memory cafes can be very good in helping people to not feel so isolated.

Dr. Regina Koepp 30:06
And it gives tools to the caregiver to help facilitate the connection. It really relies on two people. One is the person with dementia and one is the person to help facilitate the conversation. However, that's a call and response or a discussion or objects or talking about or making your own poem, it requires two people or more, which is great that there's a real active role for the caregiver and an active role for the person with dementia. Yeah, tip that are really great.

Gary Glazner 30:39
That's a great way to frame it. Yeah, they're both have active roles.

Dr. Regina Koepp 30:44
So now what is your hope for people living with dementia?

Gary Glazner 30:50
So I guess really like at the core of all these things, is really a reduction of stigma, just that people can, because it is, okay. So on one side, it's devastating. And these arts interventions are not going to change the progression of the disease. But if you have moments of joy, if there's moments of hope, if there's laughter, if you're playing past the face, and suddenly, I mean, that was just, you know, like, the passion that was in that whole thing, that minute long. If you can experience that there can be less stigma, and it can be less devastating.

Dr. Regina Koepp 31:27
Thank you for sharing with me and teaching me how to use some of these techniques. I agree, I do therapy with people living with dementia and their families and your thought about not making assumptions about what people are capable of, when you just meet them. I am constantly surprised, and maybe not even surprised. I'm constantly impressed at what I my assumptions are and then what the person is actually capable of answering. And when I, when I returned to basic humanity, I'm always reminded that inside a person with loss of language, or inside of a person who can't make eye contact anymore, is this human. And when I touch the human part of myself and open that up to the human part of the other person, it's, there's something to connect with. So I really value what you're saying about being open to whatever the person shares with you. Yeah, it could be changing and maybe surprising, revealing. It's, I love that message. Yeah, thank you for that.

Dr. Regina Koepp 32:52
We're gonna connect to your website in the show notes. And, and for all of the folks who are watching, and listening, and the keynote that you give on your website is so powerful. You spoke a little bit about that. here today with the emotionality that you shared in that keynote. It really, it's so touching and moving. And so I'm going to encourage everybody to go and watch it. And then, and then your YouTube channel, which shows your poetry project Alzheimer's, poetry, project, techniques, and lessons and to help continue. If there are caregivers at home who want to learn more about these techniques and how to apply them and use them with your loved ones. That's great. I'll send people to your YouTube channel as well. Thank you so much.

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Dr. Regina Koepp 33:49
That's all for today. And in wrapping up, I wanted to share with you an important guide that I made called dementia 101, a beginner's guide to dementia disorders. In this guide, I talk about what dementia is, and what it isn't. I described the phases of dementia and what to do if you're worried that your aging parent may have dementia. I'll link to it in my show notes. So take a minute and download it it answers some of the most frequently asked questions I get about dementia. If this video was helpful, be sure to subscribe. And don't forget to share this video with your friends who are caring for their aging parents, because nobody should have to do this caregiving thing alone.

Once final treat

Gary Glazner 34:35
Would you like to hear a poem? That's about that family experience?

Dr. Regina Koepp 34:41
Yes, please.

Gary Glazner 34:43
So this is um I think many many people have read The Grapes of Wrath about the dustbowl days and the Okies, you know, migrating out to California. That really was my father's story, his family did go out in a model a he told us all the time they would go, they drove from Oklahoma to California in a model a and he had worked in the was an engineer who worked in the orange fields in Southern California. So this is this is called maps and wings. And it's sort of a poem version of that, and it has a little little harmonic introduction.

Gary Glazner 35:33
(Harmonica) The road looks the same no matter where you're going. Some roads take on a magic from the hum of the wheels they hold. Route 66 is my father's road and his father's road modulae with a rearview mirror in the dust light and California in the headlights from being men to be an oak ease of vulgarity of newcomers a drowsy distant hope. Route 66 is their plow share. They dug into the rank soil held the miles in rat rusted fingers cracked open the hole using the seeds for guidance, maps folded like wings, a banquet of motion, summing us now with its broken fragments. Let us piece the road together. This is the way they win. And we shall follow them as we are able (Harmonica).

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