Only Time Will Tell is a stop-motion animation (my first ever, so excuse the mistakes!) that I made in 2012 in response to my work with a woman living with dementia within a memory care facility. I used animation to respond to her frustration and anxiety and the broader theme of clock time in dementia care.
As dementia progresses, people may experience disconnection from clock time, yet the care they receive is dictated almost entirely by clock time and task, making connection and relationship much less possible or likely. Within a biomedical model of dementia care, the day is regimented by clock time, constructing caregiving as a task to be accomplished rather than as a relational transaction (Mclean, 2007). Addressing the role of clock time within dementia care and introducing opportunities for lived time is a significant component of the process of culture change.
After making Only Time Will Tell, I realized that in exploring clock time I had inadvertently focused on a declinist narrative emphasizing loss – links to memories, past identity, and ability to orient to time or place – rather than focusing on present moment strengths. I was disturbed by the absence of present moment connection. I wanted to share also the joys of our present moment relationship. We are more than our memories, more than what we have lost. Personhood does not depend on orientation to clock time. So I made a second animation, A Bird in Hand.
Mclean, A. (2007). Dementia care as a moral enterprise: A Call for a return to the sanctity of lived time. Alzheimer’s care today, Vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 360-372.