1st Edition

Story Writing in a Nursing Home A Patchwork of Memories

By Martha A John Copyright 1991

    Based on the belief that older people have good stories to tell, Story Writing in a Nursing Home was developed as part of a volunteer teaching service to a nursing home. Graduate students who were learning to teach this special population conducted story writing activities with older adults and found that even the frail elderly who are confined to nursing centers provided a unique perspective about events that emphasize the lasting verities in life. The idea of a patchwork was derived from one of the lessons taught and was suggested by one of the older participants who said, “We’re sort of like a patchwork quilt.”

    The information, memories, and humor the elderly see in situations is worth recording. In addition, Story Writing in a Nursing Home emphasizes the way to develop the mental stimulation that is so important for physical well being. This sensitive and insightful book provides a lesson plan outline and the type of content that was used as an example. It also provides a running commentary in the form of a diary that tells how to begin a teaching program for nursing center residents. Students and professionals interested in implementing a similar program can use these ideas for planning and for organizing the use of student help to better serve the population.

    Fascinating reading, this book includes stories by frail elderly people, lesson plans, tips on working with administrators in a nursing center, and reasons for providing instruction. Teachers, volunteers, librarians, gerontology/sociology students, and others concerned with the well-being of the elderly will refer often to this instructive volume.

    Contents Introduction
    • Chapter I: Designing the Quilt
    • The Quilt Frame
    • The Color and Fabric of Patchwork Participants
    • Pieces in a Patchwork
    • Managing the Difficult Stitches
    • Getting Ready to Sew (or Write)
    • Needed: A Quilting Bee
    • Learning to Use Thimbles
    • Chapter II: The Quilting Process
    • Room Arrangement
    • Actual Instructional Session
    • Examining Patterns
    • Examining Different Blocks
    • Colorful Phrases
    • Review Action Ideas
    • A Stitch in Time
    • Are We Ready?
    • Chapter III: Antique Pieces
    • The Dance of a Lifetime
    • The Age of Invention
    • The House on 21st Street in Arlington
    • Memories on Baseball
    • A Terrifying Experience
    • Old Buildings Jog Memories
    • A Heartbreaking Experience
    • November Night
    • V. E. Day
    • Teaching in the 1930s
    • Chapter IV: The Pieces of My Life
    • A Wildlife Retreat
    • A Very Fine Life
    • Summer in the Country
    • Cupcake
    • Childhood and Cherry Trees
    • Afghans
    • Shipyard Days
    • A Wonderful Life
    • Coon Hunting
    • Travel
    • My Story
    • Little Did I Know
    • Four Miracles
    • An Unexpected Trip
    • Chapter V: Imported Quilt Pieces
    • My Memory of Memorial Day
    • Seventy-Five Years of the Washington Parade
    • Moving Out of Sight
    • Our Teacher
    • Farewell Via Public Address System
    • Adventures in a Castle in Spain
    • Discipline, The Old Fashioned Way
    • Chapter VI: Making the Border of the Quilt: Continue the Work
    • Appendix A
    • Suggested Readings


    Martha Tyler John