Artists at iStockphoto have the opportunity to contribute a few of their portfolio images to a weekly, themed light-box. A recent theme was 'wheels'. I was amazed at the enormous variety of images with wheels or wheeled objects that were collected. Another theme a few weeks ago was the request to post up to three images of the area where we live. It was wonderful seeing the cities and countrysides from around the world of so many other artists.
We decorate with themes: A baby's room, is often a boy's or girl's nursery. The cottage kitchen, maybe a modern, or a retro style one. A horror recall - in the 1970's I had a themed orange and purple kitchen! Our parties and celebrations are often themed. Themes surround us daily. We love them. If we didn't they would cease to exist.
Working with Themes in Aged Care
Research emphasizes the importance of themes in activities for people with dementia. We see how cleverly Activities Coordinators and Diversional therapists work with themed activities in care facilities. Themes assist in the stimulation of memories. We all experience, almost automatically, the remembering of a past event when someone is telling a story. Or when jokes are being told we may tend to contribute a similarly themed joke. .. which reminds me, I saw a comedian interviewed many years ago and he said he rolls on through the stand-up routine so quickly and easily because of the associations between his stories.
By using themes in activities for care-recipients we are allowing the same opportunity of memory stimulation through association. We limit the possibility of excess or unnecessary information and the activity becomes more centered. Building on the themes that are presented in the Share-Time Pictures DVDs provides a variety of activities. I mentioned an example in Tying Bows from the Moments in Lavender movie.
I'm a multi-media artist and the creator of relaxing and engaging DVD movies, Photo Books and Activity Resources for the aged care industry. These are used in aged care by Leisure Coordinators, Diversional Therapists, home and community carers. My silent movies and non-verbal books are designed for people with Alzheimer's disease, other dementias and memory loss. My research focused on Alzheimer's disease, and besides a lifetime involved in visual arts my experiences include work in aged care, dementia specific units and social work.