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Alzhiemer’s Patients Keep Spark Alive by Sharing Stories

By Jane E. Brody at the New York Times

Can you keep the love shining after your partner’s brain has begun to dim? Just ask Denise Tompkins of Naperville, Ill., married 36 years to John, now 69, who has Alzhiemer’s disease.

The Tompkinses participated in an unusual eight-week storytelling workshop at Northwestern University that is helping to keep the spark of love alive in couples coping with the challenges of encroaching dementia.

Each week participants are given a specific assignment to write a brief story about events in their lives that they then share with others in the group. The program culminates with a moving, often funny, 20-minute written story read alternately by the partners in each couple in the front of an audience.

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