The Language Of Dementia Turned Into Poetry | New Hampshire Public Radio

The Language Of Dementia Turned Into Poetry

Oct 2, 2013

Alzheimer's and dementia can create deep communication lapses between patients and their loved ones.
Credit mollybob via Flickr Creative Commons

People living with dementia can appear to live in their own world, a complicated, non-linear inner world not so easily communicated to, or understood by others. The London-based writer Susanna Howard is attempting to give people with dementia a voice by visiting with them and recording their words as poetry. 

Susanna is artistic director of Living Words, an arts and literature program helping people with dementia feel understood and heard even when communication seems lost. 

Check out the Living Words website here.

These are the poems that were featured in this segment, read by our amazing volunteers, Priscilla and John.

Number 65 – Blanche

This chair – it’s so dirty feeling

I’m not in running order

Where do you go to when you

Go out?

I keep out of walking mode

With the mainframe

In the convoy – don’t go around much

I wish

Wish I could drive in a big car

Oh I, I wish, wish I could

Fly just fly right away

To number 65 – Not

Drifting along at nothing

Read by Priscilla

Comments on languages and words  - Bob

Sometime you don’t feel on top of the world

You think I wish something like this or that happened

I could remember better

The whole life is a mystery

We can assume what we can assume

Will happen to us but we can’t

Force it to happen.

Every year that you are

Growing up

Puts different words in to your mind

We are changing

For the worse or the better

Sometimes you don’t feel on top

The point is: when you are talking about one thing

Your mind is going in different directions

Yes, sometimes in conversation you use words

That weren’t intentional

But they fit.

We got to be a goldmine practically of words

Can stir something else up

Think, wish, remember

Read by John