Book: Creative Connections in Dementia Care

Engaging Activities to Enhance Communication
by Rev. Katie Norris and Jennifer A. Brush M.A, CCC/SLP

The creative part of the brain remains intact far into the progression of dementia. Thus, making art creates opportunities for meaningful engagement on many levels for people with dementia. Creative Connections™ in Dementia Care provides care partners with the knowledge and easy-to-follow  steps they need to successfully implement art projects in a group or one-on-one setting. No art experience is required to implement this program! 

Written for anyone who cares for a person with dementia—family members, friends, and professionals— this how-to manual is packed with guidance to help enhance communication, interactions, task breakdown, and problem-solving efforts while also encouraging the abilities of each participant.


People with dementia enjoy valuable benefits when they actively engage in a creative activity:

  • stress is reduced
  • activities centered in present moment
  • mood and self-esteem are elevated
  • a sense of personal identity and achievement is experienced

To help create these opportunities, Creative Connections™ in Dementia Care provides 10 basic art project “recipes,” detailing supplies, instructions, and activity modifications, as well as colorful, step-by-step photographs that show how to demonstrate and lead the activity for the person with dementia.

Each art activity is failure-free and does not require memory skills to complete.

Bring joy and a powerful sense of connection to the lives of people experiencing dementia with this one-of-a-kind guide!

Reviews of Creative Connections:

“Creative Connections™ is a great, hands-on, practical guide on how to care for someone with cognitive impairment. Families of patients in my practice often ask, ‘What can I do to make my [loved one’s] life better?” Creative Connections™ has answers, providing instructions on how to better communicate, enrich, and enliven the lives of your family member. I recommend it to my families and I am sure you will find it a useful tool for your families and your patients.”
—Jeffrey L. Cummings, M.D., Sc.D.
Director, Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health
Camille and Larry Ruvo Chair for Brain Health

“Creative Connections™ in Dementia Care: Engaging Activities to Enhance Communication is one of the most informative and practical books on how to engage creatively with those living with dementia that I have run across; and I review a lot of books! I love how easy the book is to use. The boxes with punch lists of how’s and why’s, along with pictures that guide you, simplify the process and get a person excited about trying something new. The personal stories touch the heart. I wish this book would have been around when my mother had dementia.”
—Lori La Bey, Founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks

“Creative Connections™ in Dementia Care by Katie Norris and Jennifer Brush provides easy-to-use, step-by-step illustrated instructions for making 10 creative art projects with persons with dementia. This unique resource explains the challenges that accompany dementia and respectful ways to communicate and to present materials to support independent creative expression of persons with dementia. Based on research-supported and person-centered principles, these recipes for art projects have the potential to facilitate meaningful and pleasurable interactions between the artists (i.e., persons with dementia) and their guide (i.e., caregiver). The authors’ suggestions for modifying the activities to match client abilities and for creating variations of the projects extend the usefulness of this approach for a continuum of settings, from community to institutional care. This book is a ‘must-have’ for any caregiver who wants to maintain creativity and joyfulness in persons with dementia.”
—Michelle Bourgeois, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Professor, Researcher, and Speech-Language Pathologist
Dept. of Communication Sciences and Disorders