This is a combo of Improvisation definitions and Alzheimer’s
disease with a little creativity here and there. A lot of the improv
definitions apply directly to caregiving.
A B C D
E F G H
I J K L
M N O P
Q R S T
U V W X
Level at which certain actions and activities can be carried out.
considered apart from any application to a particular object. expressing
a quality apart from any object. ( honesty, whiteness) Opposite
: see concrete
Embracing the offers made by other performers in order to advance
accepting other’s reality
To regard another person’s beliefs, ideas, time and whole
world as being actual or true. jumping into their world.
The process of moving the scene forwards.
The question asked of the audience in order to start a scene.
listening with your whole attention on the person who is speaking.
listening with mind, body & soul
activities of daily living (ADLs)
Personal care activities necessary for everyday living, such as
eating, bathing, grooming, dressing, and toileting. People with
dementia may not be able to perform necessary functions without
assistance. Professionals often assess a person’s ADLs to
determine what type of care is needed.
An unexpected effect of drug treatment that may range from trivial
to serious or life- threatening, such as an allergic reaction.
Vocal or motor behavior (screaming, shouting, complaining, moaning,
cursing, pacing, fidgeting, wandering, etc.) that is disruptive,
unsafe, or interferes with the delivery of care in a particular
environment. An abnormal behavior is considered agitation only if
it poses risk or discomfort to the individual with Alzheimer’s
or his/her caregiver. Agitation can be a nonspecific symptom of
one or more physical or psychological problems.
A progressive, neurodegenerative disease characterized by loss of
function and death of nerve cells in several areas of the brain,
leading to loss of mental functions such as memory and learning.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.
1. The manner in which one behaves. 2. Psychology. The actions or
reactions of persons or things in response to external or internal
Rejecting information or ideas offered by another player. One of
the most common problems experienced by new improvisers. In conventional
theatre, the term is used to mean something different. In caregiving,
the term can mean the same except insert caregiver instead of player.
The bodily gestures, postures, and facial expressions by which a
person communicates without using words with others.
Mental abilities such as judgment, memory, learning, comprehension,
The exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech,
signals, writing, or behavior.
1. of or relating to an actual, specific thing or instance; particular:
had the concrete evidence needed to convict. 2. Existing in reality
or in real experience; perceptible by the senses; real: concrete
objects such as trees.
1. Having the ability or power to create: Human beings are creative
2. Productive; creating. 3. Characterized by originality and expressiveness;
The process of providing cues, prompts, hints, and other meaningful
information, direction, or instruction to aid a person who is experiencing
memory difficulties. Also : multiple cueing - providing the same
information in different ways and to different senses.
A false idea typically originating from a misinterpretation but
firmly believed and strongly maintained in spite of contradictory
proof or evidence.
The loss of intellectual functions (such as thinking, remembering,
and reasoning) of sufficient severity to interfere with a person’s
daily functioning. Dementia is not a disease itself but rather a
group of symptoms that may accompany certain diseases or conditions.
Symptoms may also include changes in personality, mood, and behavior.
Dementia is irreversible when caused by disease or injury but may
be reversible when caused by drugs, alcohol, hormone or vitamin
imbalances, or depression.
Taking over a scene and not letting other performers influence its
direction. Makes you an unpopular improviser. And an unpopular co-worker
if you do not work as a team.
Assigning attributes to another performer's character
A task, problem, or other effort performed to develop or increase
explore and heighten
To take an idea and see where it leads, exploring its natural consequences
while simultaneously raising the stakes.
being responsive to change; to adapt, Synonyms : balance, adjust,
maintain, modify, ready, conform
Webster says : A center of interest or activity. Close or narrow
attention; concentration. In improvisation : The audience’s
attention should only be in one place at any given time; that place
( or person ) is the “ focus “ of the scene. If more
than one thing is going on at the same time, the focus is split.
Experienced improvisers will share the focus, inexperienced improvisers
will steal or reject the focus.
frame of reference
A referral point on which judgments are made; a referral point from
which one views the world; a reference conditioned ( framed) by
culture, family and education.
An accepted group activity which is limited by rules and group agreement;
fun, spontaneity, enthusiasm, and joy accompany games. An activity
providing entertainment or amusement; a pastime: party games; word
games. A competitive activity or sport in which players contend
with each other according to a set of rules.
A nonsense language. Although you can gain meaning from the body
language, facial expressions and vocal characteristics
When a performer gives and idea of action or movement of the scene
to another. Always accept the gift of other performers.
To invent, compose, or recite without preparation. Synonyms : not
prepare, extemporize, think on one's feet, wing it, ad-lib, be unprepared,
obey an impulse, act on the spur of the moment, blurt, come out
with, say whatever comes into one's head, rise to the occasion
One who improvises. Basically everyone improvises - just some people
do it on a stage
Introducing too much information into the scene, making it difficult
or impossible to ever find a satisfying ending that resolves everything.
Use of an outside offer within a scene. To justify.To demonstrate
or prove to be just, right, or valid.
To express certain emotions, especially mirth, delight, or derision,
by a series of spontaneous, usually unarticulated sounds often accompanied
by corresponding facial and bodily movements. A person with Alzheimer’s
or dementia does not lose this ability , but their sense of humor
may change with the progression of the disease.
Behavior that involves inappropriately changing or layering clothing
on top of one another.
1. To make an effort to hear something: listen to the radio; listening
for the bell. 2. To pay attention; heed
Standing in a place where you can't be seen properly, or in such
a way that you're hiding someone else or some important action.
Should be avoided.
To reflect in or as if in a mirror. To imitate, emulate, flatter,
echo, resemble, be affected, pretend, represent
The story told by a scene. Scenes should have a clear beginning,
middle and end.
Any form of communicating that does not involve words or symbols.
Body language, facial expressions, vocal characteristics. Very important
in improv and caregiving
The thing that a character/person in a scene/exercise is trying
Any dialogue or action which moves the scene/action forward. Offers
should be accepted.
Persistent repetition of an activity, word, phrase, or movement,
such as tapping, wiping, and picking.
According to Tom Kitwood, “ It is a standing or status that
is bestowed upon one human being, by others, in the context of relationship
and social being. It implies recognition, respect and trust. Both
the according of personhood, and the failure to do so, have consequences
that are empirically testable. Here’s a few other definitions:
“ It involves promoting their continued individuality rather
than forcing them to do whatever the group does. “ “
It is the golden rule come to life - how do you want to treated
as a person, individual, a human being ? “To me personhood
embodies all of those characteristics, values, experiences and nuances
that makes each person who they are. Personhood to me is what makes
each of us unique and special. “
Turning one’s ideas and intent into action and movement.
The state, quality, sense, or fact of being near or next; closeness
Quality of life
This is a hard one to define for people. We all know that we want
“it” for our loved ones and ourselves. But what is it?
There is no Webster’s definition. So here is my definition:
That a living creature finds pleasure or enjoyment in their life
and is still able to engage or participant in some manner. It differs
with each individual and circumstance. I also believe it is one’s
attitude that helps determine your quality of life.
raising the stakes
Making the events of the scene have greater consequences for the
characters. One technique for advancing.
To change the direction or course of.“ I want to go home.
“, says the person with Alzheimer's. disease. “ Yes
and let’s stop and look at the birds on the way “, says
the caregiver. Redirect them from a problem situation to another
thought or activity. See Yes and...
Life review activity aimed at surfacing and reviewing positive memories
Repeated questions, stories, and outbursts or specific activities
done over and over again, common in people with dementia.
A short break or time away.
Doing things in a logical, predictable order. shadowing. Following,
mimicking, and interrupting behaviors that people with dementia
A character’s (or person’s ) self worth. Many scenes
are built around status transfers, in which one character’s
status, drops while another rises. Webster says: Position relative
to that of others; standing: Her status is that of a guest.
A scene that involves a lot of standing around (or worse - sitting)
and talking rather than engaging in physical action.
Work done by several associates with each doing a part but all working
together regardless of status. A group of individuals performing
a task whether small or great, depending the help of one another
to complete the task.
“Forcing the Alzheimer's-afflicted to "face reality"
can often be counter- productive”, Naomi Feil said, explaining
that when patients become confused, they tend to turn inward and
lose their desire to communicate. The idea behind validation therapy
is to just let them talk, and to act as if what they are saying
is perfectly fine, even when they appear to be living in another
time or place, or are confused about who is who. There is no evidence
that using validation therapy will improve patients' memories or
cognitive abilities, but it does seem to increase their enjoyment
The tone, volume and inflection of your voice.
tone - How you make one word mean several things by altering your
volume - How loud and how soft your voice is
inflection - How you articulate, enunciate or pronounce words
Failing to make decisions. Talking about what you're going to do
instead of doing it.
Common behavior that causes people with dementia to stray and become
lost in familiar surroundings.
Accepting an offer but failing to act on it.
There is no more important rule in improvisation than “ Yes
And .” This statement , by itself, accepts any offer made
by another and moves the action forward with additional information
or action. But beyond that, it is also an important statement when
fostering a positive attitude.
Karen Stobbe & Dylan Bolin
Improvisation for the Theatre by Viola Spolin
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language
Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.