At Home Games/Recreation Gifts Nursing Home

Stimulating Imagination – Storytelling Images

Image of Endless Landscape Laid OutVisits to a nursing home are a critical component of caring for a resident, and rewarding for everyone involved. There’s no denying, though, that they can be difficult as well. If the visits are daily, the difficulties compound — how do you make the time interesting rather than dull and repetitious? Conversation can falter, imagination fail. How do you make interactions mentally stimulating?

These wonderful images from are reproductions of paintings, sized to fit in the palm of a hand. The idea is riffed from an old game. From the website:

The Endless Landscape was a popular 18th and 19th century storytelling game. The 18 paintings in this Endless Landscape depict fragments of a panorama, based on London, drawn from a larger series created by artist Alice Angus . . .

Image of Endless LandscapeThe paintings are imaginative; they’re not meant to be historically accurate, but to stimulate story-telling. The cards can be patterned anyway anyone wants to set them — the website claims that 6 billion combinations are possible. (More than are probably necessary in a month of afternoons!)

Part fact and part fiction, the Endless Landscape alters geography and crosses the timeline of history. Its panoramas are littered with improbable landscapes, architectural conundrums, ghostly evocations and historical anomalies.

The images could be used interactively, with people sharing stories about the pictures, but also as an individual game, with the cards spelling out purely visual stories for one person’s enjoyment. The set might make a good gift for someone temporarily bed-bound, with the added bonus of looking great on the fridge later.

Image of Endless Landscape Pictures Held in a HandThe Endless Landscape is mounted on magnets, making it durable and probably a bit easier to pick up than ordinary cards. The aesthetics are lovely, but there is little contrast and a lot of detail, so this probably isn’t the right choice for anyone with serious visual impairment. Unless, of course, someone else describes the images and weaves them into an oral tale just for the pleasure of those who are listening.

Proboscis also sells StoryCubes, paper boxes to fold and decorate with supplied sticker images for the sides, or for your own pictures, inside and out, also to stimulate story-telling and imaginative interaction. The StoryCubes look too frangible for nursing home use, but are worth a look just for inspiration.

Proboscis is a UK firm, but they ship worldwide.

4 replies on “Stimulating Imagination – Storytelling Images”

I recently ran across the following website which encourages the use of a similar technique:


It’s rather a movement, highly organized and, in its pure state “requires” training, but there is enough information on the website to inspire someone who wants to encourage storytelling on their own with their care recipient. I mention this site because I scanned and wasn’t able to easily find much in the way of technique, even though they mention something about “Urban Tapestries”, which I believe is also mentioned at TimeSlips. However, TimeSlips gives lots of hints on how to use pictures to stimulate imagination and memory, even and especially with the unusually mentally creative old.

Forgot to mention, the TimeSlips TimeSlips website includes a downloadable pdf Education Guide TimeSlips Resources Guide which, although not exhaustive (they’d like you to sign up for their training, which typically costs and isn’t widely available), when combined with the information on the website, gives the reader an excellent idea of the technique, what to allow (just about everything) and what to expect, especially when working with the demented old.

The site’s emphasis on group activity may scare some away, but I can not only imagine that this would be easy to do on a one to one level, I realize I’ve casually done it throughout my years of companionship with my mother.

As well, the site offers, for free, a file of 8 downloadable pdf images TimeSlips Samples to get you started.

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