ALZHEIMER and CREATIVE NARRATION: testimonial by Paola Buelli

Alzheimer e narrazione creativa: testimonianza di Paola Buelli,
Fondazione Casa Serena Brembate di Sopra (BG)

Casa Serena Foundation in Brembate Sopra (BG) Italy: our testimony of Story Telling set in Nature. Edited by Paola Buelli, dementia social educator.

We met Cristina Fino during a training day organised at our facility. We were immediately interested in the world of Alamar Life and the purchase of the DVDs gave us a new tool to relate to our elderly in everyday life.

We experimented with the Nature Videos in the wards, during large group motor activities and for a small group sensory stimulation activity. After evaluating the positivity of these experiences, with a colleague we decided to go further, intrigued by the Story Telling activity with the Experience Nature videos.

In Piacenza, at the Meeting of Care Professions, we got to know this proposal closely and got involved in the experiential workshop led by the creator, Cristina Fino, and dementia social educator Cristina Falomi.

On the return trip, overcome with enthusiasm, we thought about how we could incorporate this activity into the weekly schedule of non-pharmacological therapies for our residents. We decided to organise four test sessions, to test ourselves and to see how we could offer this activity in a structured way starting in the autumn.

For four Fridays, we gathered a group of eight people with cognitive impairment in the facility’s theatre, which has a big screen and a good sound system. We proposed the Creative Storytelling DVDs in our possession (with the theme “Forest” and “Countryside”) and immediately noticed our elderly people’s enjoyment of these living images. Everyone was generous in sharing memories and emotions, making personal contributions in the creation of the final narrative. The administration of the NPT-ES allowed us to see the positive effect of this intervention on the participants’ well-being from a more objective point of view as well.

During the summer we offered this intervention on a few occasions to small groups of residents in order to share this experience with colleagues, and as of October we will be offering it every Thursday morning for a cycle of 10 meetings.



Re-reading the stories made makes us realize the richness of this proposal, which does not end in the time of the actual narrative, but continues on the written page. We are collecting them with the idea of enhancing and highlighting them, guarding them carefully.

One of the stories born during the first sessions:

People used to go to work in the pasture with the boys from the village, with their friends. At ten, eleven years old! Maria used to go to the pasture at fourteen with six animals, with six cows. In the pasture, the cows ate grass, flowers, and things that came down from the plants. Maria’s father used to work the fields. Now nobody works the fields any more. (we say now… but then we saw a lot!).

Then in the pasture we would look for a nice place to stop and eat. We would stop under a tree, for example an old cherry tree, which is old but makes lots of cherries! There wasn’t much money in those days, so we would go to the trees and pick cherries, and at snack time Maria would eat cherries with polenta. Nice, fresh cherries and a nice slice of polenta: it was a nice snack for everyone. Fruit was eaten with polenta because there was nothing. Just minestrone.

From the short story ‘Il fiume Brembo’, 15 June 2018 – DVD Ambiente Campagna (Countryside Environment).

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