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Project Abstract | Parallels of Improvisation and Alzheimers

This is my project abstract for my original grant applications.
I wrote it in a letter form.

For the past 5 years I have been immersed in the world of Alzheimer’s. The stages, the validation,the conferences, the caregivers, the communication, the range of emotions and understanding.

For 9 years before that, I was immersed in the world of Improvisation. The stage, the validation, the performances, the blocking, the teamwork , the range of acting and the emotions.

During the time my Dad had Alzheimer’s, MPT was fortunate to receive a grant from the Helen Bader Foundation to develop and perform a show and workshops about Caregiving. The end result “ Sometimes Ya Gotta Laugh ! “ has been well received across the state to a diverse audience.

During that time, I didn’t dive back into my old world of improv very much, I was very busy concentrating on reality. It was my Dad’s death that made me realize the potential for Improvisation and Alzheimer training. That is incorrect, it wasn’t my Dad’s death, but the 21 days of time before his death that it came into my head. It came into my mind while I was talking to him hour after hour.

The rules of Improvisation parallel the “ rules “ of Caregiving for a person with Alzheimer’s. Each rule of Improv has exercises, hands on techniques to illustrate points of care. Improv itself teaches characteristics that are essential to the caregiver : listening, validation, accepting others’ realities, problem solving and creativity to name only a few. I see improvisation as another tool for caregivers and for trainers to use to create a better quality of life for each person with Alzheimer’s. I want to clarify that this this is not training of how to do Improvisation. But training that uses Improvisation to teach Alzheimer care.

I believe that Alzheimer’s -- more than any other disease -- takes a very special caregiver with special training.

I believe that although working with AD persons can be immensely rewarding , it can also be emotionally, physically and mentally very challenging.

I believe that every person with AD has a right to individualized care , a right to express themselves and a right to have dignity.

I believe I am one of the few people who has been immersed so deeply in both the worlds of improvisation and Alzheimers to act on this opportunity.





©2003 Karen Stobbe and "In The Moment". Material may be freely distributed with proper accreditation.