Help Aging Relatives Write Poetry
Elderly adults can flex their creative muscles during National Poetry Month with the help of family caregivers and elder care assistants. Even if they’ve never done much with poetry before, seniors will not only appreciate poetry as a storytelling art form but can get inspired to write their own. Family caregivers and elder care aides can provide opportunities for seniors to write meaningful poetry for themselves and for their posterity.
Step 1: Read Poetry for Inspiration.
Many of the greatest stories in Western literature come from poems, and most people are quickly enchanted by great poets like William Shakespeare, Emily Dickenson, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, and many more. Seniors can join a reading group or attend poetry readings at local venues like the community arts center. They can also check out books of poetry from the library and read them aloud or ask their elder care aide to do so. The more exposure to poetry they have, the more inspiration they will get to write their own.
Step 2: Learn About Different Types of Poetry.
Most people assume that good poetry must rhyme and that seems to be a big challenge for beginners. However, narrative poetry and free verse poems are quite unrestricted and give elderly writers lots of freedom. Of course, it’s helpful to learn the different types of rhyming patterns if seniors want to go that direction as well. Many libraries and communities have book clubs, writing groups and poetry clubs that seniors can join.
Step 3: Explore Different Subjects.
Poetry is a way to capture intense emotions in just a few verses, so elderly adults that want to write about their lives in poem form can delve into their own memories for topics. Elder care assistants can help seniors with details of their personal stories by asking questions and prompting them to talk and write about them. From their family life and school days to historic events they witnessed, elderly adults have a lifetime of stories.
Step 4: Write, Write, Write.
It may be a little intimidating to finally put the pencil to the paper or to start writing poetry on the computer. However, elderly adults can push themselves to new creative heights by writing a little every day. Some days will be more productive than others, but they need to think about writing as an exercise and they will improve the more they do it. Elder care assistants can help elderly adults with their goal by setting a schedule with some time set aside for uninterrupted writing. If possible, they can also join a writing club in the area and rely on the elder care aide to transport them to meetings.
Step 5: Share the Poems With an Audience.
Poetry is a deeply personal creative task, but eventually they should be shared. Aging adults can ask family members, elder care aides, or their writing group for honest feedback and genuine feelings. Other audience venues are local talent shows, submissions to the local newspaper, starting a blog or website, or posting to social media for friends and family to read.