Using Creativity to Find Pleasure and Get Engaged

Using Creativity to Find Pleasure and Get Engaged post page

Kathryn Quinlan

By Kathryn QuinlanJuly 16th, 2020

Using Creativity to Find Pleasure and Get Engaged

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by Kathryn Quinlan,

PAC Products and Services Coordinator


Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.

– Edward de Bono –

The amygdalae are what drives our thrive to survive, they keep us alive. Part of what we need to thrive and survive is pleasure. Activating our brain creatively can offer a special kind of pleasure.

This month, I thought it would be fun to explore how artwork might help people living with dementia, and their care partners, engage in creativity and connection. I was inspired by discovering that many international museums are now offering free virtual tours online. Click here to take advantage of these free resources.

Here is an idea to try. Sit with your loved one, or share virtually, a painting that might have a story to tell, like the one below. This activity is especially good for Diamonds and Emeralds.

Take some time to notice what you see. Then ask some questions to help a story unfold. Here are a few questions you might ask:

  • What is the relationship of the man and woman?
  • What are they doing?
  • Where did they come from and where will they go next?
  • Where do you think they are?
  • What time of year do you think it is?

You might record a story together and share with others. Perhaps you will share the pleasure of some cookies and milk after you have written the story of the painting. Or maybe you will pull up another painting and try again.

For our Ambers and Rubies, we might try something simpler to look at with abstract colors and shapes like the picture below of Vincent van Gogh’s Green Wheat Fields, Auvers.

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853 - 1890 ), Green Wheat Fields, Auvers, 1890, oil on canvas, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon

Your partner might be able to identify colors and use their hands and bodies to show the movement of the brush strokes. You might try some finger painting while looking at the image for inspiration. You can get non-toxic paint and provide lots of sensory stimulation to the hands and fingertips.

Get creative and have fun and pleasure with art.


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