Art becomes therapy for Pateley Bridge grandma with dementia
Last updated Jul 13, 2021
James and Joan Thomas

Joan Thomas says her grandson James’s art has helped with her dementia.

Mrs Thomas moved to Pateley Bridge to be with family during the first lockdown after struggling to live alone. Since then she has been working with her grandson on a number of pieces.

During lockdown, James Thomas created a piece of art inspired by his grandma called ‘Isolation’. The piece is made out of discarded scratch cards.

The pair have always shared a love for art and Mr Thomas said his grandma often recalls memories from years ago when she helped him with his art.

Mrs Thomas, who was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2017,  said art helps her feel calm and focused. She also enjoys colouring herself:

“I like going to James’s exhibitions and seeing the art he’s done at home on display. I really enjoy doing art and spending time with him. There’s just a lot of things I can’t remember but art keeps me calm.”


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Mr Thomas said he was pleased with the effect his art had on his grandma’s health:

“It’s a form of therapy for her and it helps her. Now she can be a part of the pieces I create from start to finish.

“She does her colouring completely alone, even though she can’t do anything else she can do that which is pretty marvellous.”

Mr Thomas added his grandma’s choice of colours and style is “perfect”.

Mr Thomas is currently putting pieces together to take part in some local exhibitions including the Nidd Art Trail and the Mercer Gallery REACT exhibition.


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