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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337

S. Afr. j. occup. ther. vol.45 n.1 Pretoria Jan./Apr. 2015




Book Review


Live and laugh with dementia. An essential guide to maximising quality of life



Lee-Fay Low (B.Sc. Psych Hons; Ph.D.) Associate professor in Ageing and Health at the University of Sydney.

Details of book:

Publisher: Exisle Publishing


Publication date: 2014

ISBN no: 9781921966521

Price: The book can be ordered online from and is $29.99AUD. It is also available as an eBook from major eBook retailers, or on direct link from as an eBook and is priced at $9.99.


Live and Laugh with Dementia is not only easy to read but will speak to the heart of occupational therapists as Lee-Fay commences by emphasising the importance of meaningful activities for persons with dementia. This is a very informative book for those who are new to the field of dementia care; or could serve as encouragement to experts and a means to support their approach to practice if they are keen to promote client-directed care.

Chapter 2 explains in practical terms the impact of dementia on a person's ability to think and provide a guide for determining to what extent the condition is impacting current thinking abilities. Level of ability is then linked to life history and personal preferences to support appropriate activity choice.

Chapter 3 focuses on how to select and modify activities for individuals and provides various case studies to inform the readership.

In chapter 4 the scheduling and presentation of activities are considered with a strong focus on the therapeutic use of self to ensure engagement.

Chapters 5 and 6 focus on cognitive stimulating activities and reminiscence, providing detail on how to engage persons with advanced dementia effectively.

Chapters 7, 8 and 9 look at how to ensure that different family members and friends remain involved in the person with dementia's life; how to plan outings and how to initiate activities around the home.

Finally the important role of music (Chapter 10) and play (Chapter 11) is considered and will resonate well with all occupational therapists who value playfulness and creativity as a means for facilitating meaningful engagement.

This is the first book since the publication of Perrin, May, Anderson's 2008 publication, Wellbeing in Dementia: An occupational approach for therapists and carers, that I feel reflects the ethos of meaningful engagement where activity involvement is key. I hope that occupational therapists will be challenged and inspired by Lee-Fay to elaborate on the importance of supporting persons with dementia as occupational beings to experience quality of life.


Sanet du Toit (Ph.D.) Lecturer, Occupational Therapy Division, University of Sydney.

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