Dementia uncovered

Poetry celebrates the connections between people living with dementia and their local community

Poetry helps people living with dementia to share their stories and opinions, giving valuable insights into what it means to live with dementia and opening up communication with their local community.

We have been working with Karen Hayes, an expert in developing poetry based on the words of people with dementia. Karen has been creating poems with residents of Trevarna nursing home in St Austell, their carers and families and young people from Penrice School. The poems reflect their involvement in the Creative Spaces project and in particular the impact that their contact with communities and the outdoors has had on their life and experience of dementia.

Karen Hayes leads a poetry session with people living with dementiaClose up of an allium flower, many of the poems created with people with dementia were inspired by plants92 year old Ernie creating his poem

Many people with dementia experience social isolation, largely as a result of negative stereotypes. This work is designed to help reduce their isolation and connect them with their local places and communities. The poems are being used to improve understanding of dementia for those in early diagnosis, carers working in homes and in healthcare settings, young people as well as the wider public. They are helping to communicate the importance of supporting people with dementia through visits, social activities and involving them in community initiatives.

A page from Wendy Brewin's poetry book using collage to respond to the poems created with people with dementia

A page from Wendy Brewin's poetry book, each page responding through collage to the words of the individual poems.


Big Lottery Fund

New films

See how the poems have provided the basis for a series of films, animations and photography

The Thing You Live

Do what you think
I am not with us.

I’ve not been out for a week
And I couldn’t wait to get back.

Do what you’ve got to do
As if they were ever kinder.

This one is chocolate,
This one is a scone.

I hope these roses are lovely
I hope they will cheer me up.

I am a silly old fool
My name is spelt with a L.I.F.E

Life. That’s my name.
It is that thing you live.

Doris Life

New photography

See how Ruth Purdy has represented one of these poems through her photography.


Creative Spaces homepage - read more about the project

Creative Spaces in the news - latest news about what has been happening

activities and factsheets - to help you plan dementia-friendly spaces and activities