For the families left to care for their loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease, it can be an isolating and frustrating experience. Molly Middleton Meyer lost both parents to Alzheimer’s and now her groundbreaking work is bringing hope, peace and happiness to Alzheimer’s patients and their families. “We can’t bring them back but we can go with them,” she says.
A recent story on Growingbolder.com looked inside one of Molly’s facilitation sessions to watch a group of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients come alive through poetry.
Molly Middleton Meyer founded Mind’s Eye Poetry in 2013, one year after her mother passed away from Alzheimer’s disease. She lost my dad to the disease in 2011. She carries on their legacy through the Mind’s Eye mission: to use poetry as a means of connection, as a way to stimulate memory and imagination, as a way to actively engage and empower those living with dementia, as a way to celebrate lives well lived.
People with dementia still possess the ability to laugh, think, create, and authentically enjoy living in the moment, she said. They deserve challenging, empowering, dignifying interactions. They deserve the very best we have to offer, she says.
As a poet and a writer, using poetry facilitation as a vehicle for connection, engagement, and empowerment was a natural fit, Meyer explained. Through trial and error, she developed a mentally stimulating, creatively challenging way to interact with my poet/patients using an hour-long facilitation technique that incorporates sensory materials, poetry recitation, and well-honed, open-ended questions.
The Mind’s Eye process not only allows people with dementia to re-capture memories, but it also unleash a cascade of creativity, she said. The look of accomplishment on the faces of the participants as she reads their poems back to them is rewarding beyond measure, she said.
When imagination and memory become poems, patients become people, she said.
Mind’s Eye Poetry is based in Dallas, Texas, but Meyer travels nationally to conduct facilitations, workshops, seminars, and training programs. She works with people in all stages of the disease process, and offer one-on-one facilitations, as well as group facilitations. Her services are available in-home or in assisted living/memory care centers. In addition to poetry facilitation, Mind’s Eye Poetry conducts book clubs at independent and assisted living facilities throughout the greater Dallas area and soon, Mind’s Eye Poetry will join with Dallas area hospice providers to introduce poetry facilitation into the arena of end-of-life care.