The Memory Activity Book
by Helen Lambert,
Occupational Therapist, Cofio Dementia Training
Having qualified as an OT in 1991, I have spent most of my working life in the National Health Service in a variety of clinical settings including mental health and learning difficulties. In 2001, a colleague and I were tasked with creating training for staff working within social care, residential and nursing homes, and home care workers. My passion for dementia care education was born and continues to grow.
In 2016, I made a monumental decision to leave the NHS and set up my own training company, Cofio Dementia Training. (Based in South Wales, “Cofio” is Welsh for “Remember”). This has opened the door to many exciting projects, including writing a book.
I was approached by DK to write a book for people living with dementia around activity ideas. This is something I feel so strongly about as too frequently, for any number of reasons, people stop doing the things they have always enjoyed, post diagnosis. It was an opportunity to share ideas about things to do and how to grade activities for the person’s changing abilities. DK’s philosophy of using images to support text was a good fit for this type of resource.
Having said “yes,” I realized that I didn’t actually know how to write a book! Fortunately, DK are expert in this, and helped me through the process. The result is a book written for the person with dementia or memory impairment, in the early stages. It is broken into chapters, such as Out and About & Revisiting the Past and each chapter covers a range of activities from swimming, to going on an outing, to puzzles, to crafts; hopefully something to suit everyone. Each activity has an “At a glance” section which outlines the benefits of the activity and many show step by step sequences to demonstrate how to complete it. Suggestions are made about grading, or simplifying, activities and include “talk about” sections to encourage conversation, or “Useful Tips.” Some pages are dedicated to “talk about” and will show one main image or images to discuss, for example “The 7 Wonders of the World.”
Whilst it has been a hard process, I am so excited with the end result. I truly hope that it is a book that people living with dementia will pick up and enjoy and maybe inspire them to try new things, or for family members who may be a little stuck for ideas, to look at and give things a go. Ultimately, I hope it makes a difference.
Click here to purchase or pre-order a copy of Memory Activity Book.
Helen Lambert is an Independent Occupational Therapist, based in South Wales, UK. She is also a PAC Certified Independent Trainer & Coach. To learn more, contact Helen via email.
Helen has developed and facilitates Dementia Care Training for Social Care Staff (staff working within residential care homes, nursing homes, and providing support at home) and has created dementia awareness training that is being rolled out across Wales. She has recently completed a project working with a charity, which focuses on care and support through terminal illness—both at home and within a hospice setting. It has brought great pleasure to Helen to be able to work on such a project that encourages inclusion of diverse communities in end-of-life care.
Helen is delighted to have been given the opportunity to write The Memory Activity Book. While training gives her an opportunity to influence care and support, she hopes that her book reaches further and provides direct support to people affected by dementia.