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Creative Communication for Elderly Well-being


People with dementia at Mapplewell Manor care home near Barnsley are benefiting from poetry as therapy, as part of a wider


project to encourage people to express themselves through language.

The residents of Mapplewell Manor have been working with a therapist to put together poetry, which stimulates their imagination, memories and emotions.

The sessions, which have been taking place since the beginning of the year, encourage people living with dementia to express themselves using written and spoken words.

Lead Activity Co-ordinator, Helen Smith applied for a dementia care grant which was awarded to Mapplewell Manor from the Mayor of Barnsley’s charity fund. Mayor Cllr Linda Burgess has chosen to support dementia care after she helped care for her late mother who was living with dementia.

Emotional health and wellbeing practitioner Diane Hinchliffe has led the sessions along with Helen Smith the Mapplewell Manor Lead Activity Co-ordinator, working with 20 residents during group sessions.

Diane said: “Whilst dementia can have a devastating effect on people’s cognitive abilities, the creative, imaginative and emotional parts of the person often remain relatively strong. There have been some wonderful developments in creative work with people with dementia, and these have shown how important it is to celebrate a person’s potential rather than focus on problems and deficits.”

Helen Smith, Lead Activity Co-ordinator at Mapplewell Manor said “The poetry sessions have enabled the residents to discover new ways of expressing themselves and importantly, through sharing their poems with others, to have their voice heard. I have seen their confidence and self esteem increase and they are interacting with each other so much more.”

Betty Rowe, a resident of Mapplewell Manor care home has dementia and has been attending the poetry sessions for the last few weeks.

Her daughter, Stephanie Cooper, said: “Mum has really enjoyed the social aspect of the poetry sessions. It has helped to lift her spirits, raise her energy levels and feel connected with others. Her face lights up and she smiles, as she remembers things that have happened in the past.”

On Friday 28th April, friends and family will gather at Mapplewell Manor care home to hear the residents recite their poems in front of the Mayor of Barnsley, Cllr Linda Burgess.

On Thursday 29th June, four of the poetry group will head to the spoken word event ‘Time & Place’ at Sheffield Cathedral (organised by Mr David Reid the founder of South Yorkshire Dementia Creative Arts Exhibition). They will get the opportunity to showcase their talents and read out their group poems.

Spring and Easter


A yellow oval –

With rabbits round it

A duck –

It’s viewing everybody from the outside.



Lovely daffodils


I counted them and there’s 25.

Aren’t they nice -

Them little daffodils


Rabbits in Burrows.


Kath, Kathleen, Ken, Doreen, Josephine, Kathleen, Betty, Carol: 17 February 2017


I grow a lot of flowers in the garden

I like daffodils

Just a yellow beauty

A beautiful flower within six petals.

It’s lovely, beautiful -

Do you want to buy some?

They’re rich in colour

Lovely and very clear

Smells nice as well

Yes, it’s lovely.

I think it’s alright –

It’s for Sharon.

It’s a multi clearer

Cos we all like to know

They’re too expensive.

I like them, I like the colour.

It just tells me spring is coming.

I’ve always loved daffodils.

 Kath, Kathleen, Ken, Doreen, Josephine, Kathleen, Betty, Carol: 17 February 2017

 It’s an Easter Egg

What is it – I don’t know?

It’s a globe!

It’s an avalanche

It’s shiny and rough

Ooo it’s heavy.

It’s lovely, it’s beautiful

It’s like shelves in a shop

It’s heavy.

Quite unusual.

It catches your eye –

With that yellow and purple.

All the colours go together

Fresh and clean.

It’s nice to brighten the house up

And it does.

I think it’s quite beautiful

It’s quite heavy.

It’s a very large daffodil -

I wandered lonely as a cloud.

The poem describes it well,

Spring at its greatest.


Easter -

When Easter arrives

The poppy’s alive.

We all share this experience.

It’s an Easter egg

Full of Easter eggs

If you pull the bottom out –

It’ll be full of Easter eggs.

Happy Easter!


Kath, Kathleen, Ken, Doreen, Josephine, Kathleen, Betty, Carol: 17 February 2017

Edited by Diane Hinchliffe


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