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Puppetry in Dementia Care

Connecting through Creativity and Joy
Regular price £24.99
Regular price Sale price £24.99
Even in the later stages of the disease, when memory, words and relationships are affected, it is possible for people with dementia to express emotions, imagination, humour, sensitivities and personal preferences. This book demonstrates the many ways in which puppetry and associated art forms such as singing and story-telling can be used in a person-centred way to create opportunities for these human responses to emerge.

The author describes different scenarios in which puppetry can help facilitate connections, including in response to changes in relationships, communicating when words fail and in times of distress or conflict. She explains how puppets can be used to stimulate memories, celebrate life achievements and promote self-esteem and confidence, as well as with those nearing the end of life as part of palliative care. Strategies for introducing puppetry and other forms of creative stimulation into daily care are suggested, and real examples are used to illustrate how creativity may benefit the person with dementia beyond the immediate session. Step-by-step instructions for making a variety of puppets are also included.

This thought-provoking book will be a source of inspiration and practical ideas for care staff and activity coordinators, creative arts therapists, occupational therapists, puppeteers and other artists working in care settings, as well as relatives of people with dementia looking for new ways to connect with their loved ones.
  • Published: Jul 28 2013
  • Pages: 264
  • 226 x 150mm
  • ISBN: 9781849053921
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Press Reviews

  • Puppeteers UK

    Laced with informative, sensitive material relevant to those in the fields of health and social care, puppetry, creative arts, or simply those caring for someone with dementia, Marshall's book is a truly valuable contribution to the growing body of research suggesting that puppets are a key tool for accessing the emotions, imagination and sub-conscious of individuals facing a wide range of psychological barriers, including dementia. Above all, it is the personal accounts Marshall uses to frame each chapter which lend the book its gravity - descriptions of the huge milestones reached through puppet interventions: a non-verbal person with dementia exchanging words with a puppet; an unresponsive, disinterested individual finally interacting with the outside world through the use of animated silks; a usually hostile individual enjoying the sensation of stroking an animal puppet. They are small moments, but deeply significant ones, made possible " the world of puppetry, where there is no pressure to remember anyone."
  • F & F (Facts and Fiction)

    Her book is about ways of enriching and enhancing the lives of people with dementia. As a result it is not just about puppets, but about ways of engaging people using music, storytelling and reminiscence... Life should be more than routine and Puppetry in Dementia Care demonstrates that a little imagination can provide a wealth of ideas for care staff, occupational therapists, storytellers and for the friends and family of people with dementia to connect and engage.
  • Gary Friedman, Gary Friedman Productions, CEO Corporate Creatures, and editor of

    The puppet is a tool - a weapon to transform the subconscious, to stir the emotions and to re-connect our memory. I understand this concept, and as Karrie discusses, it really works. I have worked all my life in using the puppet to break down barriers and get messages across to the public throughout the world. Be it with AIDS education, democracy and corruption education or creativity and communication in schools, universities or the corporate world, the results are always the same. The puppet or inanimate object has an innate power to communicate on a "soul level". A simple movement by an inanimate object fascinates us and can move us to tears without necessarily saying a word. Karrie puts it very aptly: we connect in the moment of 'now'.
  • Keith Walker, Policy Officer - Health Improvement, Highland Council, Choose Life Highland Coordinator

    Triumph over adversity is something that is often praised, but this book shows us how to get so much more. Creating joy where there was despair is something so powerful as to seem miraculous. Karrie Marshall shows us the great value of using puppetry in care settings to achieve just that and then gives us the tools to do it for ourselves. Powerful, inspiring and empowering.
  • Robert Livingstone, Director of HI~Arts, promoting the arts in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland

    Calmly and lucidly, Karrie Marshall tells extraordinary stories of the positive impact which just one art form - puppetry - can have in one crucial and highly emotive field of healthcare: dementia. In doing so she also reminds us that we've not yet grasped the full power of the arts to change lives.
  • Dr Samantha Murphy, lecturer and Chair of the Open University module on Death and Dying, and module author on forthcoming Open University module on Dementia Care

    This book provides an excellent justification for the use of art, and more specifically puppetry, as a way of connecting with people with dementia who might otherwise have difficulties maintaining social interaction. Karrie Marshall has obviously researched her subject thoroughly and this book will be of use to anyone who has contact with people with dementia whether they are activity coordinators in care homes, formal carers or relatives. It seeks to introduce novel ways of enhancing the quality of life for people with dementia, at whatever stage they are in the condition.
  • Jo Munroe, Project Worker (social care)

    With her innovative, creative approach, founded on years of experience, mixed with compassion, humour and boundless enthusiasm, Karrie builds beautiful bridges of hope, empowerment and inspiration for clients, relatives and staff alike.
  • Claire Thorpe, Senior OT, Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust

    College of Occupational Therapists Specialist section: Older People
    This inspirational book explores the use of creativity through puppetry and person centred care... The text has numerous examples where a variety of techniques have been used to establish rapport and develop therapeutic relationships. It explores the theoretical basis of dementia care and how theories can be applied in care homes and in the community. The book is particularly relevant to occupational therapists working with clients with dementia when communication and social interaction deficits may be present. It gives practical examples of how a variety of activities can be graded and adapted for individual use and highlights alternative approaches that may be beneficial... Creativity is used to build bridges and strengthen relationships through shared projects which can be incorporated into everyday life. It suggests activities that people with and without dementia are supported in expressing emotions, imagination, personal preferences and humour. Words are not always necessary, colours and visual stimuli are essential. Memories are unlocked with puppets bringing to life nursery rhymes and fables. The engaging style of writing encourages the reader to continue from chapter to chapter. It provides practical ideas to inspire care givers to enter a shared world which can promote well-being and understanding. The text is balanced between theory and case studies... The author has a background in nursing and education. She clearly demonstrates her understanding of the complex needs of those with dementia and how we need to enter and understand the world they live in through her insightful comments and analysis. I would definitely recommend this book for use within the occupational therapists toolkit. It is an excellent resource to support practice and education of carers and students.
  • Person-Centred Quarterly

    the book introduces the idea of puppetry for adults then specifically links using puppetry with people who have dementia... Chapters are themed... There are many suggestions on how to 'work' with the puppets and how to include expressive work in practice... I recommend the book to practitioners especially those who use expressive/creative work; there are many tips. The book is relationship-centred, it is about being 'creatively person-centred' and encouraging practitioners to use 'creative thinking'... The author weaves research and practice together expertly with many helpful references and tips. Highly recommended.
  • Margot Lindsay, Research Department of Mental Health Sciences

    European Journal for Person Centered Healthcare
    Everyone in any way involved in caring for a person with dementia should use this book to stimulate the quiescent creativity in the person with dementia.