Our imagination is one of the best gifts we have, and memory loss doesn’t stop imagination or creativity. This year at Chicago Methodist Senior Services, we decided to inspire residents’ imaginations as often as possible through the popular TimeSlips program.
What is TimeSlips?
TimeSlips is a program tailored to older adults that encourages creative engagement through storytelling. The program, which was founded in 1998, is used across the U.S. and internationally. Research has shown that TimeSlips improves social interaction and engagement for people with memory loss by encouraging lively and imaginative conversations.
At CMSS, Arts Programming Coordinator Jenn Ross, a certified TimeSlips facilitator, leads one hour TimeSlips sessions weekly at Covenant Home and Hartwell Place, and biweekly at Wesley Place. The programs are a lot of fun, and have truly boosted participants’ self-esteem.
Each session begins with an image, which can be anything from a famous work of art to a photo of a common household object. Then, Jenn poses a series of questions to participants to spark a group conversation. What do they see? How does it make them feel?
TimeSlips participants are invited to give their responses to these questions and more in light of the image in front of them. It’s a simple exercise, but one that can inspire profound results.
“Because of the playful nature of creative engagement, there are times when participants begin a group feeling resistant to the process,” Jenn explains. “It is beautiful to witness when those residents immerse themselves within the imaginary environment the group creates.”
There are no wrong answers in TimeSlips, and everyone’s stories are shared and combined over the course of the hour. At the end of each session, the group has one full story built from everyone’s contributions. This is read again at the beginning of the next session as inspiration.
More than the Ability to Remember
We love TimeSlips because we know that imagination and storytelling can be appreciated by everyone, whether or not they have memory loss. We believe that’s why the program is a favorite among residents, and some people have even rearranged their schedules to ensure they can regularly attend.
At CMSS, we’ve added a few of our own touches to the TimeSlips program. Jenn knows the group’s participants well and adjusts the sessions to feature images and questions they’ll particularly enjoy. While many other TimeSlips programs focus on multiple images per session, our program focuses on only one. We make sure all participants see the image a week ahead of time and hang a poster in each of our communities, so everyone has ample time to get their creativity flowing and develop rich descriptions for the image.
Are you interested in learning more about TimeSlips or our other programs for people with memory loss? Contact us here.