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Poetry and Dementia

Poetry and Dementia

A Practical Guide

John Killick

Quick Overview

A practical guide to reading and writing poetry with older people living with dementia to improve mental health and wellbeing. Tips and techniques are included for facilitating poetry projects with groups or individuals for professional care workers or personal family members.
Details Price Qty
Paperback / softback
2017, 8.39in x 6.22in / 213mm x 158mm, 144pp
ISBN: 9781785921766
2017, ePUB, 160pp
ISBN: 978-1-78450-448-9
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Poetry is an engaging and inclusive activity for older people that can help develop memory, imagination and identity. This book provides guidance on setting up and monitoring poetry projects for people living with dementia in group care homes and individual families. It explains the benefits of creative expression for people with dementia, and shows how to facilitate poetry reading and writing groups in different environments.

Specific techniques for introducing poetry to older people can be employed by family members or professional care staff to enhance the wellbeing of the individual living with dementia. The ethical issues of running poetry projects in dementia care are explored along with examples of poetry produced by individuals and groups, interviews with care workers, and case studies.


'In this wonderful distillation of long experience John Killick shows us the potential of poetry both as a way of stimulating discussion, and of enabling people with dementia to have a voice. Using his own work and that of colleagues, he provides careful guidance which will be invaluable.'
- Professor Mary Marshall, Senior Consultant, HammondCare

'In his book John shows how by being a skilled listener you can capture what seems to be garbled, mixed-up thinking and using literature knowledge, turn it into a work of art, and present this gift back to the person with dementia in the form of their own personal poem. I felt humbled by this work.'
- Agnes Houston MBE

'John Killick's work over many years has shown how poetry, through many and varied means, can contribute massively to well-being for people living with dementia. This wise, clear guidance, with choice examples of poems and illuminating accounts, is sure to encourage and help others develop their skills in this rewarding area.'
- Sue Benson, Managing Editor, Journal of Dementia Care

'In this eminently accessible book, John generously and honestly offers a wealth of advice, guidance and resources that emanate from a lifetime of work in using poetry to hear the voices of people with dementia and to capture their lived experience. John carefully explains the craft of using poetry as a medium for positive person-centred work and in doing so makes this book compulsory reading for anyone involved or interested in poetry and dementia.'
- Maria Pasiecznik Parsons, Chief Executive, Creative Dementia Arts Network

'Described as a practical guide, it is easy to read and yet conveys the complexity of the effects of the condition dementia and ways of using poetry effectively. His understanding and experience of the work gives authority to his explanation and I found it easy to grasp. [...] I felt that Killick summed up what is now the fundament of my practice when working with people of dementia, 'Acts of kindness are what people with dementia need''
- Clare Scott, Chair, Lapidus International


By (author): John Killick