Alzheimers Poetry Project Visits RCS Empowers, Inc. 

Participants and staff at RCS Empowers, Inc. enjoyed a visit from Gary Glazner, Founder and Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project (APP). RCS class instructors learned how to initiate and implement poetry in their classes. Two RCS classes were able to experience firsthand how to facilitate poetry with participants through Glazner’s guidance. “This was the second visit from Glazner and each time our staff learns something new,” said Ruth Weigel, Day Services Coordinator.

Poetry not only appeals to those with Alzheimer’s, it is really a universal tool for everyone of all ages. RCS participants with disabilities have used poetry in classes to spark their creativity and build camaraderie with each other as they create the poem and experience the joy of the learning process. Each poetry creation is as unique as the individuals creating the poem. Glazner had ensured that the process is not only words, but feelings, sounds, and actions. The different elements make the poem come alive and engage everyone in the creative process.

Individuals with memory loss are able to recall a certain type of memory with the call and response poetry method that Glazner uses in his workshops. “You can imagine how it feels to be successful and be able to say the words back,” Glazner said. “We use a lot of humor and playfulness, and I think that is all part of what they are responding to.” Glazner is currently working with five local Sheboygan area programs to use poetry to help those with cognitive disabilities. The five organizations are RCS Empowers, Inc., The Gathering Place, Sheboygan Senior Community, Generations Intergenerational Center, and Pine Haven Christian Community. All Glazner’s efforts will come to fruition when the five organizations gather in April to share what they have learned to make Sheboygan County a better place for those with dementia or cognitive disabilities.