Alzheimer’s Poetry Project

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Typically, with an Alzheimer’s patient, there is a gradual memory loss. A sufferer may start off simply misplacing things, forgetting appointments. But eventually an Alzheimer’s patient forgets loved ones, or sometimes gets children and friends confused with people from his or her past. Also, someone with the illness often loses touch with the here and now, getting lost in what memories he or she has left.

All kinds of treatments for the disease have been making news — everything from cholesterol lowering drugs to broccoli have been thought to slow the decline caused by Alzheimer’s. But one New Mexico man thinks lingering in a patient’s past could help many with the illness stay in the present, if only for a short while.

Gary Mex Glazner is a florist turned poet and the founder of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project. Glazner, and a handful of other poets, visit Alzheimer’s patients in nursing homes around the country, reading poetry to them. As part of our ongoing series “Making Sense of Mental Health” WBHM’s Rosemary Pennington spoke with Glazner about his work.