Active Minds (http://www.active-minds.co.uk/) was gracious enough to send me one of their products to try out and review. Active Minds makes great products and kits for people with dementia. The product they sent me was their “Aquapaint: Everyday” kit, which allows people with dementia the chance to “paint” on a canvas that shows up as it gets wet.
The kit comes with five images, all of which look like blank canvases before they are “painted”. The thing that I liked immediately was this was a very safe activity for my residents with dementia. There is always a concern with leaving toxic paint out with my residents, just in case a resident tries to drink it. (While this is unlikely, it would not be the first time a person with dementia has ingested something they shouldn’t have eaten.) These canvases only required water to work.
The other thing that I liked was that my residents could paint these images time and time again. As the picture began to dry, it started to evaporate.
I was able to gather five of my residents and we worked with my activity director to try the kit out. She was able to assist one of our residents by holding her water cup and showing her how to use the paintbrush.
As the images began to appear, my residents looked excited. They talked about the images in front of them: a dog, a woman’s face, a kitchen scene, a basket of fruit, and a shaving kit.
The more water that the canvas received, the better the image showed up. The kit allowed my residents who would normally struggle with an art project to create something beautiful with ease.
I appreciated the fact that the images were not childish. They were all artistic and creative—they weren’t things that you would find in a child’s room. One of my biggest pet peeves with dementia care is when you find childish pictures, puzzles, or projects in a dementia community. They have no place there.
“Wow, I want to do this with our residents every day,” one of my aides said as she helped a resident with her project.