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Introduction. A small body of research on therapeutic use of poetry in individuals with memory impairment demonstrates benefits similar to that of more widely studied music interventions. This project aims to assess the effects of participation in a poetry group on the residents of a memory care floor within the Converse Home, an assisted living facility in Burlington, Vermont.

Methods.. We evaluated the effects of twelve group poetry sessions on residents' well-being in several domains. Each session included a reading and writing portion, which were evaluated separately to assess differences in measures of communication, interest, and enjoyment. These measures, along with negative responses, were recorded on Likert scales. T-tests, ANOVA, and post-hoc comparisons were used to compare behavioral and affective observations in the reading versus writing sessions.

Results.. Positive responses were significantly higher in reading sessions (p

Conclusion.. Although the limitations of this project preclude us from drawing individual conclusions regarding the therapeutic efficacy of poetry in individuals with memory impairment, we demonstrate that poetry sessions have a positive impact on global quality of life outcomes and introduction of poetry sessions in this population has a beneficial effect.


Judith Christensen

University of Vermont

Ellen Meagher

Converse Home


Converse Home


Dementias, Including Alzheimer's Disease, Health-Related Quality of Life & Well-Being, Older Adults

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License

The Effects of Poetry in Elderly Populations with Memory Impairment