This page is for people who have dementia and for people who look after them. The carer is usually a member of the person’s close family or a friend, but could also be paid staff.

Who we are

Lighting Up is a group of artists who meet with people affected by dementia to create arts and crafts together. We find that art is a wonderful way of communicating with people who have dementia. We use art to help with our aim of contributing to the quality of their lives and to the lives of people who care for them at a time when so many things are difficult for them.

We hold our sessions at venues in Bristol which are organised in partnership with Alzheimer’s Society. It is usual for the person with dementia to come to the arts and crafts sessions together with a person who cares for them unless they are fully able to care for themselves.

What happens

Participants (that means carers as well as people with dementia) and artists work together at Lighting Up sessions.  Someone who is new to Lighting Up may be worried about what will happen; however we work to ensure that the individual needs of all participants are met by working closely with them.

People who have difficulty understanding or even communicating often have abilities hidden within them and through the art they begin to find these. Once the right connection has been made the person with dementia can feel that something special is happening; through creativity they are ‘lighting up’.  Carers also recognise this. One carer told us: “I had no idea my wife was so artistic, I wish we’d discovered this earlier.”  Another carer has told us how coming to Lighting Up changed her husband’s life: “I haven’t seen my husband so engrossed in years, he really looks forward to the sessions, it’s a delight.”

At the end of the session we usually share what we have done, which is greatly enjoyed by the participants and artists alike.

But it isn’t just about arts and crafts, the sessions are also social occasions, an event that is greatly valued by everyone.

painting by a lighting up participant

Will it work for you?

On this page you can read things that participants (that is people with dementia as well as carers) have said about coming to Lighting Up.

We are not worried whether a person’s dementia is at an early or more advanced stage, or whether they have a formal diagnosis or not, and it doesn’t matter whether they, or their carers, have done any art before.  Many people who have dementia do not like leaving the home (quite often the thought of going somewhere new can be quite frightening) and it can be worrying for carers too. But you can be sure that everyone will be made welcome, it will be enjoyable, and over a few sessions you can expect to find how valuable it is.

But the only real way to find out whether it will work for you is to make contact and give it a try!  The next section describes how to do this.

Like to join us?

We are keen to meet more people living with dementia and to invite them to join us in Lighting Up.

All of our sessions are run with the help of the Bristol office of Alzheimer’s Society.  To inquire about joining one of the Lighting Up venues, please contact Alzheimer’s Society by phoning them on 0117 961 0693. At times there will be an answering machine, in which case it is best to leave a message saying you are interested in Lighting Up,  giving details of how they can get in contact with you. 

If you would like to contact Lighting Up directly please visit our Contact us page.