Chocolate rain

100 ideas for a creative approach to activities

Readers of Living with dementia magazine tell us what they think about a book of creative activity ideas for people with dementia.

Chocolate rain by Sarah Zoutewelle

Sarah Zoutewelle-Morris is an expert in visual arts, and she has applied her skills to her work as an artist in health care for many years.

Caroline Branney, who manages our Dementia Knowledge Centre, says, ‘This imaginative book is designed to be used by those who may have limited experience of creative activities, including family members, as well as practitioners working with people who have dementia.

Chocolate rain can be dipped into, though the author recommends reading the brief chapter called “Taking a step towards their world” first. This encourages us to “have a go”, be open-minded and take time to be creative in our thinking. It also reminds us to recognise the potential of a person with dementia rather than starting with perceived limitations.’

'It covers many aspects of practical involvement and engaging activities,’ says Lynne.

Lynne Pierce, in Gloucestershire, says, ‘It could be an extremely valuable and user-friendly book for professional activity providers and family members. It covers many aspects of practical involvement and engaging activities.’

She adds that it encourages creativity from everyone involved – people with dementia and carers.

Abida Parveen in West Midlands is just as enthusiastic. ‘I am really learning so much from it. I particularly like how it shows how to put these activities and ideas into practice in a care home setting.’

Practical and meaningful

The book groups and cross-references activities – from holding objects, adapting games or making window decorations and hanging mobiles to activities based on a person’s former profession – according to specific needs and goals.

‘For example,’ says Caroline, ‘under “individual activities” it provides ideas for a person who can speak but cannot read or for someone who is bedridden. Descriptions such as “simple”, “no cost” and “quiet” – together with lots of attractive illustrations, photographs and bullet points – help you to pick the right activity quickly.’

Lynne says, ‘It breaks down complexities of a project into “do-able” tasks that are enjoyable, rewarding and fun. It also has good, clear text and individual illustrations.’

‘Most importantly, this book is about empowering the person with dementia,’ says Caroline.

Caroline adds, ‘The instructions are clear, and the design and layout are attractive. There is much emphasis on communicating and generating a sense of enjoyment.

‘Most importantly, this book is about empowering the person with dementia.’

Lynne agrees, ‘It’s one to have for the toolkit – layers of moments of meaningful engagement.’

Chocolate rain: 100 ideas for a creative approach to activities in dementia care by Sarah Zoutewelle-Morris (Hawker, 2011), 193 pages, £14.95, ISBN: 9781874790969.

Next steps

  • For the next issue, we invite you to read The dementia whisperer by Agnes B Juhasz (Hammersmith Health, 2016), 206 pages, £12.99, ISBN: 9781781610961. Let us know what you think of this book by 11 September 2017 so we can share it in our magazine.
  • Enter our book giveaway by 18 August 2017 for a chance to win one of five copies of The dementia whisperer by Agnes B Juhasz.
  • Read the next article from this issue of the magazine.

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