Poetry Therapy for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

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.Poetry Therapy for Alzheimer's Caregivers

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.

Please leave your thoughts and comments

  • Chelsia Hart

    I lose it every time I read this:

    Letter from a Mother to a Daughter: “My dear girl, the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say: “You said the same thing a minute ago”… Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep. When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a girl? When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way… remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day… the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you. And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked. When those days come, don’t feel sad… just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you… my darling daughter. “

    • Kathy Porter

      WOW, what a beautiful letter…. and how it makes us remember what it means to be the ‘MOM’ and the things we were taught.
      God bless… and thanks for sharing this !!

  • Diane Wyman

    I created a website to share my poem-expressed experience when my mother had dementia, hoping it might help others.
    A Trilogy theme, with two parts prior to “The Long Goodbye” part, honors my mother’s beautiful spirit. poetryofdianewyman.com

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