How I enjoy being creative: Making things and expressing ourselves

We ask people about how they keep active and well, whether they have dementia or not. This issue, we hear about creativity and expression.

Debs Gogarty, 56 in Wiltshire 

I create jewellery from broken items and old beads. I have always loved jewellery and when I saw a video about creating it from wire I was intrigued. I began making gifts, and I get such a buzz out of seeing someone wearing them.

It gives me a sense of contributing to more than just my dementia-defined world. I gave up work to look after my cared-for and miss the sense of achievement you get from problem-solving etc.

Debs Gogarty

Debs making jewellery.

George Rook, 69 with mixed dementia in Shropshire 

I carve things in relief from wood I find on my walks with my dog round the fields and canal, or wood I have grown myself, like willow and hazel. I started with whistles, then moved on to sunflowers, one or two rooks, then birds of prey. 

I belong to a small group of people living with dementia who all wanted to learn to create art and crafts last year. We call ourselves Dementia Craftivists.

The concentration and observation required make me forget everything else, time flies by and I feel pretty satisfied when I finish.

George Rook

George with one of his carvings.

Donna Wood, 58 in Wiltshire 

I like to make soft toys. I am keen to learn new skills and enjoy making things for others. I have always admired creative people, and it gives me a great sense of achievement to be able to make something.

I love the sensory nature of crafting, so many different tactile and visual elements to it. I use a magnifying glass sometimes and sometimes have to change the way I do things due to arthritis in my hands. 

Ann Jones, 56 in Saddleworth 

I am a member of Heartbeat barbershop chorus and a founder member of Music in Mind Stockport, a group of ladies who share their joy of music by singing to residents in local care homes.

At the moment, I sing with Heartbeat via Zoom, and although Music in Mind is suspended due to COVID, we’ve been recording songs to create a library for the future.

A love of singing is very helpful for your wellbeing, as it is a sharing hobby with mutual benefits. It reaches hearts and minds.

Ann Jones

Ann (second from left) with friends.

Fran Stokes, 64 in Cumbria 

I play bass pans in a steel band, which practises weekly when COVID-19 restrictions allow. We also carry out over 20 performances each year, at events such as weddings, carnivals and golf club socials.

Each performance is immensely satisfying, both in terms of the sense of personal achievement and giving pleasure to the audience. 

Corinne Lawbuary-Gooding, 65 in Bath 

Painting, craft projects, gardening – they’re a great way to relax and get a sense of achievement. 

I normally look after my four grandchildren five days a week so, as you can imagine, my life is pretty hectic!

Corinne Lawbuary-Gooding

Corinne (right) with her sisters.

Stay well 

Your age and genes affect your risk of developing dementia, but you can’t change them. Things you can change include keeping your mind and body active, enjoying healthier food, not smoking, drinking less alcohol, staying in touch with people, and dealing with any health problems.

If you already have dementia, the same things can help you to stay healthy and well. NHS Live Well has health and wellbeing advice for everyone.

We need your help

We can’t keep our phone lines open or manage the increase in demand for our services without urgent financial support. Please donate today – with your help, we can show people living with dementia that they aren’t alone.

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Dementia together magazine: Apr/May 21

Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
Subscribe now
Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
Subscribe now