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Personhood and Dementia Workshop 2019

Thursday, November 7, 2019 -- Bluemont Hotel

Linda Zimmer

What do puppies and puppets have in common? They are both a part of Linda Zimmer’s “playful protocol” which Linda developed when her mother began showing signs of dementia. Linda combines her professional backgrounds as a Creative Arts Specialist and a puppeteer on Mister Roger’s Neighborhood to infuse music, art, and humor into the daily lives of residents in dementia care. Joining her on her journey is her therapy poodle, Toby.

Join us as Linda teaches us aspects of her “playful protocol” that you can use to bring creativity and joy to your own relationships.

Morning Session information:

The therapeutic value of including pets and puppets in dementia care is both simple and profound. Zimmer's keynote address will explore and illuminate the possibilities of these therapies while sharing highlights from the "Playful Protocol" she developed for residents of a West Virginia nursing home.  She draws inspiration from her time as a puppeteer for television pioneer, Fred Rogers, whose ability to see the unique qualities of each person he met informs her work. With therapy dog Toby by her side, Zimmer discovers daily proof that human beings, even with a diagnosis of dementia, retain joy and creativity and can live productively and playfully in the moment.

Afternoon Session information:

In the afternoon session, participants will be able to create simple puppets to be used with clients or loved ones. While making one’s own puppet, thoughts and feelings can be explored in an effective and safe manner.  Zimmer will offer suggestions and ideas about the applications of several puppet types and stages. The session will conclude with music and shared scenarios.


 Individuals are welcome to attend all or any portion of the day allowed by your schedule. The Personhood and Dementia Event is free and open to the public. Anyone interested is invited to attend. No registration is required and parking is free of charge.

From the Director

"We are doing this workshop because we have recognized the high demands placed on formal and informal caregivers of persons with dementia. Recent practice has shown the benefits of the arts for persons with cognitive loss. Because medical advances have helped people to live longer, more and more of us will be afflicted with these problems. It is important for us to find solutions that focus on quality of life for this population."

— Gayle Doll, Director
K-State Center on Aging