Creative Care: A Revolutionary Approach to Dementia and Elder Care; Anne Basting, PhD.

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Caregivers for older adults—especially for those experiencing dementia and Alzheimer’s—can feel at a loss for how to meaningfully connect with loved ones. This can make the final years of life feel lonely and devoid of meaning, for both elders and their care partners. To alleviate this sense of aloneness, Dr. Anne Basting has developed a radical approach that combines theater and improvisation methods with evidence-based therapies to help people get in touch with their own creativity and become more engaged with their families and communities.

Basting understands that trying to talk with those for whom the past and present are often mixed can be frustrating for both the elder as well as caregivers and family members. But there is way to engage — imagination and creativity can help bridge the communications void and bring loved ones back to one another. 

Basting has developed creative techniques, rooted in twenty-five years of research, that draw on elements of theater—such as “Yes, And” and “Beautiful Questions.” This approach fosters storytelling and active listening, allowing elders to freely share ideas and stories without worrying about getting the details absolutely “correct.” Basting’s years of research have shown that these practices awaken the imagination to add wonder and awe to patients’ daily lives—and, most importantly, provide them a means of connection.

In Creative Care, Basting lays the groundwork for a widespread transformation in our approach to elder care and uses compelling, touching stories to inspire and guide us all—family, friends, and health professionals—in new ways and satisfying ways. 

May 19, 2020


About the Author

ANNE BASTING, PhD, is a widely recognized leader in transforming aging and elder care, the author of Creative Care, and the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant. She is the founder of the non-profit TimeSlips which implements her innovative approach to memory care. Her work as the founding director of University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s Center on Age & Community was also featured in the PBS documentary, “The Penelope Project” (2011).

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