Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Silent no more: Older adults as poets. Creative writing as a preventative approach to cognitive decline of the elderly
by Saunders, Peter Paul Kenelm Woolcock, Ph.D., Union Institute and University, 2006, 295; 3262830
Abstract (Summary)

This study was conducted to investigate the question: What are the themes inherent in the work of older adults who participate in poetry writing workshops and what are the benefits they derive from that experience?

Seventeen participants (five men, twelve women), all retirees ranging in age from the mid-fifties to ninety, volunteered to participate in this study. All were or had been enrolled in one of five different poetry workshops conducted in three separate locations.

Each participant engaged in a series of focused interviews in which she or he was asked to discuss the evolution of her or his poetry writing. The transcripts of these interviews were then content analyzed and the themes, which stimulated the writer to create poems, were identified. Participants were asked to submit samples of their poetry, which were also content analyzed to confirm those themes present in their interviews or to uncover new ones. Six recurring themes were identified, all of which are believed to have beneficial value to the writer, matched with those of notable contemporary poets.

The results of this study suggest that providing older citizens with a venue for creative expression will do much to improve their quality of life and maintain their intellectual functioning, factors fundamental to successful aging. It is recommended that the number of workshops such as those described in this study be increased, as well as similar workshops in prose writing and the visual and performing arts be created.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Michael, Christine Nevada
School: Union Institute and University
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 68/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Gerontology, Families & family life, Personal relationships, Sociology, Cognitive therapy
Keywords: Cognitive decline, Creative writing, Elderly, Poets, Preventative
Publication Number: 3262830
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