One Simple Secret that Lights Up Lives

What if someone listened to you carefully enough to remember some of your favorite accomplishments? What if someone reminded you of those treasured moments as a way of celebrating you?

“When people can’t tell their own stories, their care partners can tell the stories for them,” says Tryn Rose Seley, expressive arts facilitator and author of 15 Minutes of Fame.  “You can support significant events with affirmation cards, stating the achievement and thanking them.”

For example, for a client who is a retired teacher, Tryn prints on index cards,  “You love children so much. You have taught many kindergarteners, and made a wonderful difference in their lives. Thank you.”

She puts these cards in prominent locations, so they can talk about them during the day.

When I interviewed Tryn for my upcoming book, I fell in love with this simple yet profound idea. I thought of my mother and the kinds of cards I could have created for her: “You served your country as a nurse in WWII. Thank you so much for that act of bravery.”   “You painted wonderful pictures that you shared with family and friends. Thank you.”

I thought of friends who are living with dementia and the affirmations they would enjoy. I also thought of myself and my beloved partner Ron and the kinds of stories and affirmations that would make us glow.

Tryn reminded me how important meaningful activities, loving support, and affirmations are for people who are living with dementia, for their care partners, and for all of us.


Tryn Rose Seley is a musician, photographer, author, and expressive arts facilitator. She loves to interact with people of every age and does so on a regular basis. She leads musical experiences, shares her caregiver book, and writes every day, sometimes on the back of grocery receipts, other times on the world-wide-web.

Deborah Shouse is the author of Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey. 


  1. on March 15, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    What an interesting idea. I am back now from L.A. The week end was hard, but filled with lots of love and family. I spoke with Sebastian Roche and he said for you to mail him a copy of the book. There is a ‘ over the e in Roche. My I-Pad does not have the capability to do that. His address is 1121 Victoria Ave. Venice, Ca 90291. Love Nezzie

    Sent from my iPad


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