Artistic director, writer, actor and founder; Living Words
Susanna Howard is creator and artistic director of Living Words, an arts and literature program that uses the spoken and written word to help people with dementia and their caregivers communicate and connect with each other.
For people with symptoms of dementia, sharing their feelings can give validation and bring relief. It is up to those of us who don't have dementia to allow these individuals to express themselves as they are, without reproach or correction.
Soon the idea of artistic interventions like "Living Words" in care homes will become commonplace. These programs enable families to see their loved ones responding when they thought responses were no longer possible, speaking when they thought their words had dried up, and creating a feeling of togetherness when they thought their loved one had vanished into a closed world.