September 10, 2015

Book review by Lauretta Kaldor - Creative connections in dementia care : engaging activities to enhance communication

Creative Connections in Dementia care : Engaging activities to Enhance Communication

Authors Katie Norris and Jennifer Brush

Available through the Alzheimer’s NSW Library - This resource is available for loan to members of AANSW - if you would like to reserve it please email the Library on
Those of us who work with clients who live with dementia know that communication is the key to engagement in activities. Many of us have had limited success in engaging people in creative art projects. This new publication sets out a step-by-step process. The authors used their personal experiences of setting up a series of “recipes” and recorded these well with clear instructions and photos. The section at the back called the recipe index is excellent as it has coloured pictures making the process easy to understand for the guide (the person facilitating the activity with a client) and the artist (the person with dementia). All activities require minimal materials and resources that are clearly listed.

Interspersed are Stories from creative Connections from the field describing how successful the communication methods worked with their clients.

The highlight of this book is how to set up the workspace using contrasting colours and taking time and effort to make it truly workable. Often we are so keen to get into the work we forget the importance of preparation. When you see in colour, how the workspace should look, we realize this step is invaluable e.g. a purple disposable plate with white glue on it, a red table mat and white paper to work on and a palette of paints in a white paint tin. Each step of each recipe is described and illustrated. There is also information on how to vary each project so out of this book a whole series of projects can be attempted catering to different levels of ability and taste.

This resource could be used by a student, volunteer, family member or professional as it is simply written well-resourced and has very useful tips on communication methods that work well with dementia clients.


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