Creating Conversations was developed by dementia specialists with the help of older people living with dementia and their carers.
Who are we?
We are a social enterprise and part of arts charity Artlink Central and are passionate and committed to developing social products that enhance the lives for people living with dementia and anyone connected to them.
Our mission is to help break barriers of communication to reduce social isolation and enhance relationships, confidence and wellbeing.
All of our research and development projects include working with dementia specialists, health professionals and people living with dementia and their carers.
We are part of the arts charity Artlink Central who, for over 30 years, has supported people in the local community who are experiencing physical or mental illness, disability or disadvantage.
Building on Artlink’s experience we now continue this work with people living with dementia in local communities or care facilities. Any profits made from Creating Conversations social enterprise in reinvested back into Artlink Central and the local communities.
The journey and developing the kit.
For people with dementia, loneliness and feelings of isolation can be one of the most common and painful effects.
Following the extensive work of Artlink Central, it was found there was great need for materials to help overcome the barriers of communication to enhance wellbeing and reduce feelings of anxiety, isolation and loneliness for people living with dementia.
Discussing our findings the inspiration originated from a group of Artlink Central participants, artists and staff. They felt there was an opportunity to design a communication and activity kit that could increase social engagement, personal fulfilment, enjoyment and wellbeing, and the sharing of recollections and personal history in a relaxed and natural way. The project was born.
Design and Testing
Once the decision was made to design a product the appropriate team assembled and it took over a year and several redesigns prior to testing phases. The kit was then sent out and tested in over 20 care homes and day care organisations as well as NHS wards and mental health units with close involvement and monitoring. Feedback from session participants and healthcare specialists led to design tweaks that have reshaped and enriched all elements of the kit, to arrive at the version which today is used by people living with dementia and their carers across the UK.
The kit was also tested and evaluated by the Dementia Research and Gerontology Department, University of Stirling which included a further 21 people with dementia, 9 healthcare professionals and 7 volunteers who took part in 10 observation sessions across the two venues highlighting very positive results.
The Kit is launched
We launched the very first Creating Conversations Kit in June 2016. The gardening and outdoors themed kit has proven to be an indispensable tool for breaking barriers of communication and enhancing the lives of people living with dementia, their families and friends. We are in the process of designing more themes and products following the great feedback and results to date from people using our products. Our mission remains the same.