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Puppetry in Dementia Care

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Man with a Kitten in his Pocket. 1. Old Joe Knows a Few Things: The World of Puppetry. 2. Kissing Scarves: Being Person-centred. 3. He Closes His Eyes When I am Near: Changes in Relationship. 4. The Amazing Grace of Dancing Birds: Communicating Beyond Words. 5. Rocky, My Friend: Connecting in Times of Distress or Conflict. 6. The Man Who Sandpapered the Air, with Pride: A Life Worth Living. 7. My Life is Like a Dolphin: Narrative Work, Puppets and Celebrations. 8. The Etiquette of Dreadful Singing: Singing Puppets. 9. The Dying Lady with a Diva on Her Bed: The World of Bed Theatre. 10. Get me that Red Lipstick, I'm Going to the Ball: Self-esteem through Puppetry. 11. 'Flobadob': Stimulating Memories. 12. The Exotic Bird Comes Home: Animal Puppets. 13. A Sentence a Day: Incorporating Creativity into Daily Practice. 14. It's Show Time! Puppetry as Entertainment. 15. I Did it My Way: Puppeteers who Live with Dementia. Appendix I: How to Make Model Theatre Puppets. Appendix II: How to Make Singing Sock Puppets. Appendix III: How to Make an Adult Glove Puppet. Appendix IV: How to Make a Jointed Rod or Table-top Puppet. Appendix V: How to Make a Bird Marionette. References. Index.

Promotional Information

Demonstrating the many ways in which puppetry and associated art forms can be used in a person-centred way to communicate and connect with people with dementia; even in the later stages of the disease

About the Author

Karrie Marshall has a background in nursing and person-centred counselling. She managed a care home for people with profound and complex needs, and worked for ten years as a lecturer in health and social care at Inverness College. In 2011 she founded the social enterprise Creativity in Care (, which promotes inclusive and joyful work in care settings and in the community for people living with dementia and people who use mental health and learning disability services. Karrie lives in Inverness, Scotland.


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. -- Margot Lindsay, Research Department of Mental Health Sciences * European Journal for Person Centered Healthcare * 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. -- Person-Centred Quarterly 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. -- Claire Thorpe, Senior OT, Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust * College of Occupational Therapists Specialist section: Older People * 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. -- Jo Munroe, Project Worker (social 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. -- 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 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. -- Robert Livingstone, Director of HI~Arts, promoting the arts in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland 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. -- Keith Walker, Policy Officer - Health Improvement, Highland Council, Choose Life Highland Coordinator 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'. -- Gary Friedman, Gary Friedman Productions, CEO Corporate Creatures, and editor of 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. -- F & F (Facts and Fiction) 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." -- Puppeteers UK

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