Poetry Therapy for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Alissa Sauer
By Alissa SauerSeptember 25, 2013

Poetry often says what every day words cannot. When it comes to caregiving, poetry can act as not only therapy, but the art also is an effective way of conveying the recondite human emotions of caring for a loved one.

Every time we post poems across our social media channels we get a fantastic response from our audience as the poetry obviously resonates with families and caregivers.

Here is the beginning of “A Prayer for the Caregiver” by Bruce McIntyre. The poem goes on to honor caregivers who are silent heroes, sacrificing for their loved ones.

“Unknown and often unnoticed, you are a hero nonetheless.

For your love, sacrificial, is God at his best.

You walk by faith in the darkness of the great unknown,

And your courage, even in weakness, gives life to your beloved”

Poetry as Caregiver Therapy

A quick internet search of “poems for caregivers” pulls up pages of heart-tugging words written by struggling caregivers. Just as music can be healing for seniors with Alzheimer’s, writing poetry can be therapeutic for Alzheimer’s caregivers.

The National Association of Poetry Therapy (NAPT) helps people deal with struggles in their lives through language and storytelling. According to the NAPT, this type of therapy has been around as long as mankind. From the primitive man, to King David in 1030 BC, and now to modern psychologists, there is little doubt that poetry has healing qualities. Even the famous psychologist Sigmund Freud wrote, “Not I, but the poet discovered the unconscious.”

More Than Words… Poetry Heals

Poetry helps us slow down and think through fast paced life. It encourages reflection and insight when many caregivers spend most of their days putting someone else’s needs first. This type of insight allows caregivers to acknowledge, and even conquer, personal fears and struggles. Given the power of the pen, caregivers can control and give purpose to a negative situation.

Even if you are not a writer at heart, taking the time to read the poetry of others can be beneficial. Because poetry shares common caregiving struggles, reading and reflecting on poetry can help caregivers avoid social isolation by understanding that someone else is feeling the same way.

View our poetry, prayers and inspirational images. What poems resonate with you? And what poems have helped you cope with the difficult moments of caregiving? Share them with us in the comments below.

Alissa Sauer

Alissa Sauer

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