The TimeSlips storytelling activity is designed for people with cognitive disabilities such as dementia.
TimeSlips was developed by Anne Davis Basting in 1996. Dr. Basting is the founder and president of TimeSlips and the founding director of the Center on Age and Community at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.
In spring 2012, I took training to be a TimeSlips facilitator, and I facilitated storytelling sessions at several nursing homes in Rockville, Maryland, with Liz Nichols, a TimeSlips master trainer and certified facilitator. I became a certified facilitator in August 2013.
In a TimeSlips storytelling session, I show the group a picture — everyone gets his/her own copy. I ask them prompt questions to facilitate them making up their own story as a group, inspired by the picture.
I write down everything they say. Intermittently throughout the process, I read back to them the story they have created so far, using an animated storytelling style. After the storytelling session, I post the finished story on the TimeSlips website.
One of the stories I facilitated:
“Into the Sunset” — created on 8-21-14 at Asbury Methodist Village
I remember those days. That’s adorable.
His name is Jimmy Peter. He’s flying an airplane. He’s going to make it fly.
He’s saying, “Grandma, look what I got!” And Grandma says, “Throw it! See how far you can throw it!” And then Grandma says, “I want a front row seat on the plane.” And Jimmy Peter says, “Oh, I only have two seats!” They join in the make-believe. And Grandma says, “That’s all right. One’s all I need.”
Jimmy Peter is going to get in with Grandma and go. They’re going to go over the horizon, into the sunset. That’s good.
Want to read more stories I have facilitated?
Research on TimeSlips
Studies of the TimeSlips storytelling method have found that the creativity and use of imagination are beneficial because the participants build self-esteem and increase social engagement. Being creative is also a relief from the stress to remember things, which the participants might feel at other times in their days.
A few of several research studies of the TimeSlips method:
- “”I’m a Storyteller!”: Exploring the Benefits of TimeSlips Creative Expression Program at a Nursing Home” (published June 2014)
- “Timeslips—Comparing Agitation and Anxiety Rating Scales to Evaluate the Benefit of Non-Pharmacologic Creative Sessions in Nursing Home Patients with Dementia” (published May 2014)
- “Impact of TimeSlips, a creative expression intervention program, on nursing home residents with dementia and their caregivers.” (published March 2009)
- “Effects of a creative expression intervention on emotions, communication, and quality of life in persons with dementia.” (published November-December 2010)