Working with older adults

Welcome to this new area of the website, dedicated to working with older adults.

What is the aim and who is this for?

The aim is to share knowledge and resources for other therapists working in this field, and it could also be of interest and use to those caring for older relatives at home or engaged with older people in other settings.

Taken out of the context of a therapy session these activities can be used in a number of ways to stimulate and entertain.

However, this is primarily intended for use by dramatherapists, a means of sharing the knowledge and resources we have amassed over many years. We have learnt through feedback from our older clients, both direct and nuanced, what has been beneficial for them in our creative ideas and methods. They have let us know what has engaged them, what has gently challenged them, what has delighted them, what has shifted within them to then engage with their peers, what has lifted them out of a rut, what has re-connected them to their creativity, what has given them a sense of value and worth, what has enabled release and relief. They have also let us know what is of no interest to them!

What is our intention?

We have previously shared some of our work through engagement with staff teams, offering workshops to support workers, dramatherapists and other professionals, and publishing the work of a specific four-year grant from the Big Lottery Fund. Now we want to make the work more available for dramatherapists and other creative arts therapists as a resource of interventions that are tried and tested. These examples can also be used as a resource for people who work with this client group in other roles, without it being part of a therapy session.

What will we be focusing on?

Dramatherapy sessions with older people have a particular ritual structure, repeated each week, that helps to maintain boundaries, and a sense of security. A welcome cuppa together as people arrive in the familiar setting, time for a check-in, a warm-up with music, movement or a game, followed by a main event. Then a period of moving away from the main event into a time of reflection, grounding and goodbyes. It is the main event on which we will focus in this new section of the website. For the main event resources click here

Will more be added?

We plan to add to this section, on a regular basis, resources that can be used with older people. We will reflect on where in the development of the group the specific main event might take place, how it can be laddered to suit differing abilities, and the potential for development as time goes on.

We hope that these ideas and methods will be useful to those working in the same field.

A note about funding

We are dedicated to accessing funding to take our work to this often undervalued and marginalised generation.

The creation of this resource has been made possible by The Mercers’ Company, who enabled us to continue working whilst we are temporarily unable to meet clients face-to-face in care homes due to Covid-19.

A note about copyright

The resources in this section are free to use. To see our terms of use policy, click here. We welcome feedback on the ways that you have incorporated them into your work, and ask that you cite Roundabout if writing about their use.

Roundabout is also aware that through our years of working with this client group, to continue our own professional development in this field we continually access workshops and conferences, read a range of authors in various disciplines, and converse with other professionals. Therefore, we too have accessed different resources, some of which we have incorporated or developed further in our sessions. Therefore, we cannot lay claim to unique ideas here, but in the spirit of creative sharing, we trust that those who shared with us will appreciate our own Roundabout take on any such material.

Word cloud created from feedback with a group of older adults