Friday, 16 February 2018

Cutting, sticking and gluing - Art Therapy for those with Alzheimers

My mum has always loved crafts ... she especially enjoys cutting out shapes and will happily spend hours on this activity as long as she has a template or pattern to follow! 

This activity helps maintain hand - eye coordination, fine motor skills and provides artistic stimulation. 

More and more I need to get my mum started and guide the process but the "Job Box" I have introduced really helps as when I am not there as it reminds her of things she can do.

I have modified and simplified the templates so the shapes are easy for her to cut out. Simple cats and flowers work well as they are her favourite subjects. 

I leave pretty patterned paper, a template, scissors and an example or a note in the "Job Box" ...

Almost always when I return I find her 'job' has been completed and there are many beautiful creations waiting for me :)

We use colourful stick on jewels ... my mum loves choosing the colours ... I make sure we have a good variety to encourage her artistic flair :) The sticky back on the jewels make them easy for mum to handle.

On good days my mum can draw on the cat faces ... on days that aren't so good she will leave them for me to complete but we always discuss and decide together the expression ... I always value her opinion.

I thank my mum for her 'work' and say how much time she has saved me so that she feels she has helped me. 

Everyone likes to feel appreciated and those with memory loss are no different ... in fact I believe it is even more important to praise my mum and make her feel useful.

We use all mum's beautiful creations on our 
hand-made cards.

She's very proud to put our names on the back of our cards! 

Our craft activities are always a joint effort :)

Things to remember about this activity ...
Be flexible. Don't force anything. Encourage and help when necessary. Never criticize. Always, always praise!

Monday, 23 October 2017

Making use of old Christmas cards - Art Therapy for those with Alzheimers

My mum has always saved old greetings cards ... she never throws anything she thinks she could use in her craft projects away! She has bags full of old Christmas cards from over the years!! She will cut out designs that she uses to glue onto blank cards to create what she calls a "remake"
If you haven't any old cards you could use a sheet of Christmas wrapping paper to cut out seasonal designs. Don't forget to save this year's cards for next year's projects!

You can see below how my mum has cut out a design with her pinking shears and she then glues it to a blank card to create a a special "remake"!

Mum also uses old cards to create gift tags ... some pinking shears around the edges and a hole punched in the corner with a piece of ribbon to finish off!

These "re-makes" and gift tags are very easy to create. I can leave old cards in mum's "Job Box" along with her pinking shears and the next day the box will be full of cut out designs that we can use on our cards or as tags 🌝
Cutting out designs is simple activity that my mum can manage on her own. Together we create the cards and tags.

Friends and family love to receive a hand made card 🌝

Meaningful activities like this give my mum such pleasure and purpose to her days. She is also very proud of her achievements which is so important!

Please also see my blog on Hand-Made cards and don't forget to visit my mum's Etsy Shop to see her beautiful scented Christmas wreaths and Poinsettias! 

Monday, 4 September 2017

Shell Craft - Art Therapy for those with Alzheimer's

Meaningful activities are incredibly important for those with Dementia. I have found that creating something beautiful makes my mum extremely happy and shell craft is a wonderful activity for her. Shells are such lovely things to paint and making them into a wind-chime is a wonderful activity that my mum can be very proud of!

We take plain sea shells and colour them with felt tip pens, metallic Pro Markers and glittery nail polish to create amazing patterned shells!!

I drill holes in the centre of the shells with a small drill bit. I find its best to drill outside as it creates quite a bit of dust!

turn the shells upside down and drill inside them. I rest the shells on an old towel. Limpets are surprisingly strong and I have cracked very few drilling this way!!

Its best to drill the shells before they are painted but sometimes my mum colours them before I get a chance to drill so I have drilled holes in many painted shells ... they just need a bit of touching up around the hole!

My mum absolutely loves colouring the shells!! She makes some very beautiful patterns!!
We then use clear nail varnish to seal the colour. 

We have also sprinkled glitter on the nail varnish & used nail varnish with glitter in it. There are so many ways to make them sparkle!

We then thread twine through the shells with a few beads in between.

I use thick string / twine and beads with large holes so that my mum is able to thread them.

My mum still has a great eye for colour and has created beautiful wind-chimes in a variety of colour ways.

She's never happier than when she is crafting! 

We used a large shell at the top of this wind-chime and tied the strings around the top of the shell. We glued the strings apart on the back.

For this wind-chime we used a piece of wood from the garden which I sprayed with gold paint. We simply tied the twine with the shells to the wood.

My mum loves making handmade gifts ... here is a wind-chime she made and gift wrapped for her volunteer driver :)

Its amazing how plain sea shells can be so simply transformed into something so very beautiful!

Please visit my mum's Etsy Shop to see her beautiful wind chimes & crepe paper flowers!

Monday, 17 April 2017

Online Activities - Art Therapy for those with Alzheimer's

I am using technology to bring new challenges and variety to the creative and stimulating activities I enjoy with my mum.
The internet is wonderful ... it can help us see, hear and communicate better and I'm pleased to say I have found some great new activities and ways to keep my mum happy and engaged. Along with all the traditional arts & crafts we enjoy, I have been using my touch screen laptop for some online fun ... we now enjoy internet puzzles, colouring and card games!

Jigsaw puzzles have been proved to stimulate memory and improve brain function in people with dementia.  My mum has always loved doing puzzles but as the disease has progressed I have had to find puzzles with large pieces for her and no more than 100 pieces. I have struggled to find a good selection of suitable puzzles as most jigsaws with this number of pieces are for children ... fortunately I discovered JIGIDI a wonderful site for online jigsaws ... thousands to choose from - all free and categories include nature, animals, buildings, machines and sizes from 12 pcs to 400+ pieces!!

Here is my mum enjoying JIGIDI ,using my touch screen laptop ...

One of the best things about JIGIDI is that you can quickly and easily upload your own photos ... so the puzzles can be personalised with family members to make the activity even more stimulating and an important memory aid.

With JIGIDI the puzzle pieces are all the right way up and jump in like magic when they are in the correct position. Mum is currently managing 24 pieces all on her own ... but its good to know that if needs be in the future, we can go down to 12 piece puzzles. You can also zoom in and out to make the activity easier. JIGIDI is wonderful for my mum ... something she is happy and able to do on her own while I am in the kitchen. I use this activity to keep her happy and occupied while I am making lunch ... she gives me a running commentary and is so, so pleased when that final piece of the puzzle is placed all by herself!!

Online colouring - this is another great activity that we enjoy!
The website we use is THE COLOUR . There's a wonderful choice of colourings ... from animals, flowers, vehicles, circus, trains ... the list is endless and once you have coloured the picture you can print it off or share it with friends and family as there is also an email option.

Here's a photo of one of mum's beautiful flower colourings.

Colouring with this website is so much fun ... any mistakes made just add to the enjoyment. I think mum and I laugh more with this activity than any other!

Here is a video of my mum colouring :)

YOUTUBE is another great source of entertainment for my mum. I use my laptop to show her funny animal videos ... its is a great way to keep her entertained and happy. Again I find this such a help while I am in the kitchen. Its wonderful to hear her laughter and I can just pop my head round to check on her.

Whereas with traditional arts and crafts I need to sit with my mum and help her, with online activities she can just about manage on her own so I can get on with the chores ... happy in the knowledge that she is content and stimulated.

Here's my mum is enjoying some funny animal videos 

Card Games are good fun too! I have recently started playing SOLITAIR with my mum ... this is definitely an activity that requires my input but it certainly gets my mum thinking and is a very stimulating and fun activity!

Here's a video of my mum enjoying a game ...

My mum's condition is sadly declining. I will need to adapt and change our activities to suit ... but I will continue to find ways to keep her happy and engaged and use whatever media works!

Meaningful activities not only stimulate the mind but keep my mum happy and content ... and most importantly proud of what she can still achieve.

For more photos and creative ideas please visit our Facebook Page.
LIKE the page to keep up to date with our arts & crafts.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Seasonal Crafts - Art Therapy for those with Alzheimer's

My mum has unfortunately lost all track of time ... as she's not aware of the month, I try to keep our arts and crafts seasonal so she is really living in and enjoying the time of year ...


Daffodils are my mum's favourite flower. We go for walks at the local arboretum to enjoy the Spring flowers ... 

... then we make our own daffodils out of crepe-paper :) to brighten up her home and bring the season indoors!


Mum loves the brightly coloured summer flowers that we find in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside ...

... summer flowers inspire us to make brightly coloured crepe paper flowers :) 
Mum loves to always have flowers ready to give to anyone who visits!

If you would like to know how we make these flowers you can find the instructions on our Making Paper Flowers Blog :)


We take trips out to the forest to enjoy the autumn colours and collect leaves to press for cards ...

Using a flower press we position our clean, dry leaves between the absorbent sheets of blotting paper, screw the wooden press together and leave for about 4 weeks.

The pressed leaves can then be used to make attractive seasonal cards.


Christmas is such a lovely time of year!! I make sure Christmas music is always in the background while we are working on our crafts ... 

Decorations ...
This year we painted glitter-glue onto wooden tree decorations and sprinkled on extra glitter. My mum loves anything shiny and glitter glue is easy for her to paint on to the decorations.

Christmas cards ... 
Meaningful activities such as card making really give my mum a sense of achievement. Making cards to send to friends & family is one of her favourite hobbies.

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New Year

No sooner is Christmas over we start on the next event! 
This year mum has made some lovely Happy New Year cards!! 

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For more details on our Hand Made cards please visit our Hand Made Cards blog

I believe that keeping my mum engaged and active is very important to her quality of life. 

There are many benefits to Creative Therapy. 
Unlike traditional art expression, the process of creation is more important than the final product. Arts and Crafts help with hand & eye coordination, focus and concentration. They also seem to lessen my mum's fidgeting and anxiety and definitely give her a great feeling of accomplishment.

Art Therapy is a very important part of our daily routine and I combine it with Music Therapy and Animal Therapy which I also believe are hugely beneficial to my mum's well being. 

For more of our photos and videos of our alternative therapies please have a look at my other blog posts and our Creative Carer Facebook Page or website Creative Carer .