How Storytelling Can Improve The Care Of People With Alzheimer's

Jul 13, 2017

When former journalist Jay Newton-Small moved her father with Alzheimer’s into a care facility in Maryland, she had to fill out a long questionnaire about his life. But she had a feeling there was a better way to share her father’s story.

She put together a short narrative, complete with photos, about his career as a U.N. diplomat. It was a hit with the caregivers who used the details from the narrative to help make Newton-Small’s father happy, and to better understand him when he got upset.

The family project has grown into an effort called Memory Well that’s beginning to spread to care facilities around the country. Newton-Small now coordinates a network of journalists who tell the stories of people who can’t tell their own, helping caregivers understand them and improve their quality of life.


Jay Newton-Small, CEO and co-founder, Memory Well; former Washington correspondent, Time Magazine; author, “Broad Influence: How Women Are Changing the Way America Works”

Jill Lesser, President, Women Against Alzheimer’s; board member, US Against Alzheimer’s

Andrew Kazmierczak, Executive director, St. Paul’s House, a senior living community with care and residential facilities, in Chicago, Illinois

Emily Lenzner, A resident of Washington DC; her father has dementia and is in a care facility in Washington, DC

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