TimeSlips, developed by Anne Basting Ph.D., in 1998, is a creative storytelling method that helps people with mid to late stage dementia reaffirm their humanity and connect with staff, family, and friends. Rather than pressure people with dementia to remember, the program encourages them to cultivate their imaginations. Studies have documented that TimeSlips improves communication skills, sociability, and quality of life among people with dementia. The program is also proven to increase job satisfaction among dementia care professionals.
Using a storytelling framework in which all participants can contribute, facilitators begin each session by greeting participants individually and then showing the assembled "storytellers" whimsical, theatrical, and provocative photographs. Program facilitators then ask the group members open-ended questions about the images. Even seemingly "nonsensical" responses advance the story, which is re-read after every four or five answers to establish momentum and remind the storytellers of what they've created so far. The re-telling format involves crediting individuals for their contributions as the tale builds. No narrative logic is necessary for a story to express the humor, desires, and sometimes the sadness of participants. The stories are recorded to share with other facility staff and families of participants.
Training in TimeSlips is offered to staff working in long-term care facilities, as well as individual caregivers that serve elders with dementia.