Drama specialist takes interactive book to dementia patients

Rachel Goodall chats to ex-navy man George Merrick Picture: Malcolm Wells (150918-4689)
Rachel Goodall chats to ex-navy man George Merrick Picture: Malcolm Wells (150918-4689)
Gemma Weir and Michelle Frank. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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  • Workshop goes into care homes
  • Dementia patients can use multi-sensory book
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A FORMER teacher is using drama and acting to give people living with dementia a chance to tell their own stories while helping their carers find a voice.

Thanks to £10,000 of lottery funding, drama specialist Rachel Goodall is taking her company Red Sauce Theatre into care homes to work with people living with dementia.

Rachel is also holding workshops at the Kings Theatre in Southsea aimed especially at the carers of those with the disease.

Rachel said: ‘When I go into the care homes, I use masks, mime and engage everyone taking part with props and music.

‘It’s amazing what happens when people living with dementia become the character in the story and then their own stories can be heard.’

Rachel, 46, has created a multi-sensory book based on the experiences of dementia patients.

This includes smells, personal experiences, pictures, poems and tactile memory-jogging aids.

Things like sweet wrappers are included so patients can look at them as well as feel the plastic and see if it helps with their memory.

Called Finding Peace: A Little Story About Coping with Dementia, the book is taken into different care and nursing homes.

In turn, memories shared there are also turned into similar books.

Rachel added: ‘The book works really well as I think it helps with a patient’s mental agility.

‘They love the book and it empowers them.’

Red Sauce Theatre is also holding workshops at the Kings Theatre in Albert Road from 7pm to 9pm on Monday, October 12, then every two weeks on the same day.

The two-hour sessions include theatre, role-playing techniques, breathing and relaxation skills and some presentations, for both patients and carers.

Rachel added: ‘My step-father suffers from dementia so I have experienced it first-hand.

‘I’ve always used drama as a tool and it’s wonderful to see people come out with their own words and find their own voice despite their illness.’

If you’re a care or nursing home interested, email rachelgoodall2003@yahoo.co.uk