Mudcat Café message #3299743 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #143037   Message #3299743
Posted By: Northerner
31-Jan-12 - 01:20 PM
Thread Name: Entertaining dementia patients
Subject: Entertaining dementia patients
Hello! I have just done my first (paid) booking at a nursing home. I was booked for Storytelling Week. I am a storyteller, but am also a singer and poet.

Rather than have a possibly passive audience simply listening to a set of folk tales, I opted for a mainly reminiscence session (though I did tell one short, humorous story and read a few of my poems). I brought in a set of objects that included clippings from scented plants in my garden for the residents to touch and smell, some liquorice twigs and a few traditional sweets, a pack about World War Two, plus a variety of vintage postcards. And some chat from myself!

The residents of this home have dementia. They had additional disabilities too - mobility problems, hearing problems and visual impairment. This meant that I had to alter my programme a bit. Instead of looking at the postcards the residents had to have me describe them instead, for instance. I had asked in advance about their disabilities but had not been given a very full description.

Anyway, the good news is that they were lovely people and as I am a friendly, sociable person I was successful in keeping them engaged for the whole period.

I would like to do bookings at other homes. I would suspect that the residents at other homes may have similar disabilities. Is there any advice you can give me for entertaining people with this range of disabilities? I would like to add singing into the mix, but it appears that songs sheets may not be suitable even with large fonts, and with hearing problems as well, I am wondering what the best approach would be.