Creativity in Elder Care
Training Medical Students
in the Use of Creative Expression to Improve Elder Care

Readings and Media


· The Arts and Human Development: Framing a National Research Agenda for the Arts, Lifelong Learning, and Individual Well-Being.

· The Creativity and Aging Study: The Impact of Professionally Conducted Cultural Programs on Older Adults, Final Report: April 2006

· “Shall I Compare Thee to a Dose of Donepezil?”: Cultural Arts Interventions in Dementia Care Research

Session 1 Poetry and Theater Improvisation

 · Healing Words: Critical Inquiry of Poetry Interventions in Dementia Care, Aagje Swinnen Maastricht University, published in Dementia.

 · Oscillations of heart rate and respiration synchronize during poetry recitation, Dirk Cysarz, et al. published in American Journal of Physiology

 · Event related potential characterization of the Shakespearean functional shift in narrative sentence structure, Guillaume Thierry, et al. published in NeuroImage, 40 (2008) 923–931

PBS NewHour on the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project

Kidneys and Commitments

Session 2 Music

Create a playlist of 5 to 10 songs. Write the list out or use a streaming service like Spotify, or go old school and burn the songs on a CD or really old school and put them on a cassette. Share the playlist with someone. Be ready to talk about why you choose one or more of the songs.

Music and Identity: Dementia and Music Therapy, Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, Chapter 29.

In the Moment: Music and Amnesia, Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, Chapter

 New Ways Into the Brain’s ‘Music Room, NY Times, NATALIE ANGIER, Feb. 8th, 2016

Video, Henry Music and Memories

Lessons from the Perry Como Sundae Bar by Robert Weinstein
A grandson brings joy to a nursing home.

Radio Lab

Video, Clive

Session 3 Storytelling

Impact of Participation in TimeSlips, a Creative Group-Based Storytelling Program,
on Medical Student Attitudes Toward Persons With Dementia: A Qualitative Study, The Gerontologist, doi:10.1093/geront/gnr035

iPad storyteller Joe Sabia introduces us to Lothar Meggendorfer, who created a bold technology for storytelling: the pop-up book. Sabia shows how new technology has always helped us tell our own stories, from the walls of caves to his own onstage iPad.

Session 4 Art
What the Brain Can Tell Us About Art, Eric Kandel, NY Times Article

Head of Clay by Jay Martel
A man reluctantly inherits a 40 pound statue

Session 5 Dance/Movement

Leisure Activities and the Risk of Dementia in the Elderly, N Engl J Med 2003;348:2508-16.