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POSITIVE COMMUNICATION: Activities to reduce isolation and improve the wellbeing of older adults

The effects of social interaction and engagement with older people have been proven to considerably improve quality of life and emotional wellbeing. This book comes packed with ready-to-use activities for groups of older people, aimed at connecting individuals, developing their self-esteem, and encouraging personal expression and independence.


Over 100 structured activities are included with instructions for delivery and accompanying handouts. Intended to be led by facilitators working with groups of older people, the activities range from creative arts to difficult topics to staying active, and are all designed to keep both bodies and minds sharp, while encouraging positive relationships with others.

Order direct from Jessica Kingsley Publishers at, or from any good bookshop. 

MOTIVATIONAL Games and Activites for Groups

How can you encourage people to be motivated? How can you create that sense of yearning to achieve or reach a goal? How can you energise and inspire group members?  The exercises and activities in this resource will help you to motivate your team or the group with which you are working. The activities are organised in sections from which you can choose to meet particular group needs. These include:

  • Ice breakers and warm ups

  • Trust building

  • Confidence building

  • Building self-esteem

  • Inspiring creativity

  • Aligning values

  • Creating an inspiring environment

  • Becoming solution focused

  • Perception

  • Resilience

  • Team building

  • Visualising and setting goals

  • Energy boosters

  • Overcoming anxiety and fear

  • Managing stress

  • Stopping procrastination

  • Using competition

  • Self-management

  • Learning

  • Assertiveness

Whether your group is small or large you will find something for any setting. Many of the activities can also be used on a one-to-one basis in supervision, with clients or students. The activities are interactive and fun. Trainers, youth leaders, councellors, group leaders, team managers, teachers, care workers and probation officers  will find the resource one in whcih they constantly dip for inspiration.

Order direct from www.speechmark-routledge, or from any good bookshop.


Practical Strategies and Techniques for Support Workers

In all types of support services and care situations one of the biggest challenges is motivating people to change their behaviour. It particularly applies to individuals who are difficult to motivate because they:

  • Lack insight

  • Wilfully ignore or refuse to face their situation

  • Are affected by depression or health problems

  • Are victims of unfortunate circumstances or fear of failure

The task may be to motivate someone to improve their quality of life by participating in a group in a residential home, change a lifestyle because of health reasons, address offending behaviour, learn a new skill to obtain a job, or complete an anxiety management programme.

The strategies and techniques will help:

  • Arouse their interest in making changes

  • Encourage the consideration of change

  • Support their planning for change

  • Mentor the person through planned actions

  • Ensure momentum is maintained

  • Guide the person in making positive use of any relapses

  • Make sure the change is successfully achieved

This is an invaluable resource for support workers, social workers, health workers, youth workers, probation officers, employment services, tutors and carers. The techniques can be applied when working with individuals or groups in all types of settings including residential homes, day centres, probation, education or youth work.

Order direct from www.speechmark-routledge, or any good bookshop.


Strategies and activities to aid memory

This is a handbook full of practical ideas to use with anyone who is experiencing mild to severe memory difficulties. The suggestions and activities can be used when working with individuals or groups. The strategies can, in fact, be used by anyone young or old, who has become worried about loss of memory.
The handbook provides:

  • Information about how memory works and different types of memory

  • An outline of what can affect memory

  • Strategies to aid memory

  • Activities to practice using the strategies

  • Activities to keep the brain active and maintain memory

  • The resource is aimed at staff in care environments such as residential homes, day centres, social clubs, support groups, carers or anyone who might be concerned about loss of memory. It promotes understanding about memory

  • difficulties and provides a wide range of strategies and activities to aid response to individual need.

Order direct from www.speechmark-routledge, or from any good bookshop


A Practical Approach to Developing Potential

This practical resource provides the tools to help individuals explore their ambitions, set goals and plan to achieve them, manage their lives and gain the skills to make their hopes and dreams a reality. The programme is ideal for use with people who are making major changes in their lives and are ready to explore their options for the future. They may wish to return to education, go back to work, change jobs, start voluntary work, take up new interests or are considering other changes in their lives. The book is divided into two parts:

  • Six core sessions. Making a start, Deciding what you want, Setting goals, Making it happen, Learning to learn and What next?

  • Eight optional sessions. These can be used individually or added to the core sessions in any order, depending on the identified need. The sessions cover: Dealing with stress, Coping with change, Being assertive, Overcoming relationship conflict, Organising your time, Dealing with disappointment and Creating an impression.

It is an ideal resource for youth leaders, teachers, support workers, occupational therapists, social workers and probation staff. It has been developed through the experience of working with groups and individuals in adult education, youth services, day centres and rehabilition centres.

Order direct from www.speechmark-routledge, or from any good bookshop


A board game to aid reminiscing, writing life histories and helping people get to know each other.

This multi-purpose board game has been designed to aid reminiscing, individuals getting to know each, facilitating the sharing of experiences and for people writing their life histories.

It can be played by 2-8 people, independently or supported by staff. The cards can also be used on their own or as an additional tool to the book 'Writing Life Histories' (see below) to inspire people writing their life stories. Benefits from using it include:

  • Helping to preserve memoryMaintaining a sense of identity

  • Integrating the past and present

  • Assisting with reminiscing and the life review process

  • Promoting a sense of pride that people have done their best in life        

  • Providing opportunities for socialising and making friends

  • Promoting understanding of behaviour and outlook on life

  • Sharing life accomplishments that promote respect

  • Providing references for conversations with cognitively impaired individuals.

This non-competitive, fun activity will become a well used tool to benefit both residents and staff in day centres, residential homes, hospitals, activity clubs, or people being card for at home and their carers.

Board Game, 8 playing pieces, 200 cards, 2 minute timer, 2 dice and instruction booklet

Order direct from www.speechmark-routledge, or from any good bookshop.


A guide for use in caring environments

Writing life histories is a practical handbook which gives clear guidance on how to put together life histories in supportive or residential settings. It provides:

  • Step-by-step guidance

  • Ideas for different types of life histories

  • Activities, strategies and material for promoting memories

  • Helpful tools and writing tips

  • Suggestions for support and forming partnerships with other local services

  • Ideas for involving the person's family and friends

  • Discussion on ethical issues to be considered

The benefits of engaging a group or an individual in Life History activities include - an aid to memory; creative stimulation; a personalised identity when in a residential home; promotion of interaction and co-operation with others; continuity
with previous life experience thus combating the loss of identity as well as an excellent opportunity to pass on knowledge and experience to others.
This is an indispensible resource for anyone interested in compiling life histories including nurses, residential home staff, carers, tutors and occupational therapists, group facilitators in day centres, clubs for the elderly or learning disabilities.

Order direct from www.speechmark-routledge , or from any good bookshop.


This comprehensive series of four books addresses the essential and acquirable skills we all use to manage and cope with life. They are a resource bank of Instant Session Plans that enable both inexperienced and experienced facilitators to make ‘instant’ and timely changes to programme sessions, and respond positively to specific requirements of group members for: coping with the events and situations they face daily; having their personal needs met; and achieving their ambitions. Each book contains:

  • An introduction session for use with a new group

  • A session to bring the group to an end

  • 4 sessions on 10 different topics

Self Management


  • Assertiveness

  • Building Confidence

  • Time Management

  • Self-esteem

  • Anger Management

  • Stress

  • Daily Living Skills

  • Managing Change

  • Self-awareness

  • Encouraging Creative Thinking

Health and Well-being


  • Managing worries

  • Looking After Your Mental Health

  • Coping with Depression

  • Dealing with a Crisis

  • Healthy Living

  • Bereavement and Loss

  • Staying Positive

  • Changing your Habits

  • Tasking Risks

  • Learning to Relax

Learning and Development


  • Unlocking Your Potential

  • Learning to Learn

  • Becoming Self-motivated

  • Self-coaching

  • Emotional Development

  • Harnessing Creativity

  • Life Management Skills

  • Understanding Yourself

  • Learning from Experience

  • Planning for Your Future



  • Communication Skills

  • Relationship Skills

  • Resolving Conflicts

  • Building a Support Network

  • Expressing Feelings

  • Making Friends

  • Working with Other People

  • Being Part of a Team

  • Networking Skills

  • Interview Skills

Each session can be used on its own; as a supplement to other material; as part of a programme of several sessions tailored to meet particular needs; as part of a comprehensive course. Each session requires minimum preparation and lasts about one hour. Each contains aims, plans, homework assignments, photocopiable handouts, plus clear step-by-step instructions for the group leader, with timings, for activities that involves participants working as a group, on their own, in pairs and in sub-groups.


For youth workers, therapists, counsellors, social workers, nurses, psychologists, care staff, prison and probation staff, and teachers … This flexible and adaptable ‘tool kit’ resource has been tried and tested over many years of work with diverse groups of adults and young people, and promotes dynamic and enjoyable learning and development.


Order direct from Russell House Publishing Ltd at, or from any good bookshop


A multi-use resource, The Memory Box contains a guidebook and 120 discussion cards to facilitate general reminiscence, produce memory diaries, put together guided autobiographies, or to help facilitate life reviews.

  • Divided into twelve themes, the cards cover: family background; childhood and school days; adult life and children; working life; events; achievements; places; people; good times and bad times; favourite things; love and romance; and bits and pieces.

  • The cards can be used with individuals or groups using spoken, recorded or written responses, and are adaptable for use with most clients and groups.

  • Includes guidance on working with groups with learning difficulties, sensory or speech difficulties, dementia or bereavement, depression and illness.

Ideal for use by tutors, care workers, nurses and occupational therapists working in hospitals, day centres, residential homes or education settings facilitating the process of reminiscence.


A guide to using The Memory Box: Introduction; Using the cards for specific purposes; Working with different types of clients; Respecting differences; Issues to bear in mind; Appendices & 120 cards, boxed.


Care staff, nursing staff, occupational therapists and tutors in day centres, residential homes, hospitals and adult learning centres.

120 cards 105 x148mm  + 32pp instruction booklet, boxed


Published by Speechmark-Routledge Ltd

Currently out of print

The Group Leader’s Toolkit
 Activities & Strategies for Working with Groups  


An essential resource for all kinds of groups, these tried and tested strategies will stimulate and encourage full participation from all group members.

  • Provides ideas for introducing group members to each other; breaking down barriers; energising people; helping people learn; moving the group on; building trust between group members; motivating people; assessing and evaluating the group; managing behaviour and personal responsibility; and ending sessions.

  • The activities are set out in a clear, easy to follow format, with variations and guidance for adapting the activities.

  • Will enable group leaders to promote group members’ self development, meet the needs of their different learning styles; stimulate their creativity and develop their thinking skills.

This toolkit is an invaluable resource for tutors, occupational therapists, nurses, care staff, probation staff, youth leaders or anyone – new or experienced – who works with groups.


Introduction; The toolkit; Introductions and ‘icebreakers’; Building trust; Energisers; Learning; Motivation; Problem solving; Managing behaviour and personal responsibility; Assessment and evaluation; More useful tools; Closures; Index.


All types of group facilitators including tutors, youth leaders, care workers, social workers, nurses, probation officers, psychologists or anyone facilitating groups in day centres, residential homes, education centres, hospitals, youth centres and schools.


Order direct from www.speechmark-routledge, or from any good bookshop.

Positive Interaction Skills

A group therapy Manual

Positive Interaction Skills provides group facilitators with a flexible programme to enable participants to develop good personal interaction skills.

  • The programme can be adapted to suit a wide variety of groups, settings and needs. Full guidance notes for facilitators, session plans, handouts and activity guidelines are provided to enable the session themes to be fully developed. 

  • The book is planned so that sessions can be used independently as required to meet identified needs.


This practical and thought-provoking resource is filled with workable ideas that can be used to improve interaction skills in meaningful ways. It is an indispensable resource for occupational therapists, nursing staff, teachers, probation officer, speech & language therapists, counsellors, youth leaders, social workers, care staff, community psychiatric nurses or anyone wanting to run an interaction skills programme.

Understanding body language; Making conversation; Starting, sustaining and ending relationships; Creating trust and learning to self-disclose; Overcoming shyness and loneliness; Controlling social anxiety; Handling emotions and feelings; Building confidence and self-esteem; Learning to negotiate.

Occupational therapists, nursing staff, teachers, probation officers speech therapists, counsellors, youth leaders, social workers, care staff, community psychiatric nurses or anyone wanting to run an interaction skills programme.

Order direct from www.speechmark-routledge ,  or from any good bookshop.

Anxiety Management
In ten groupwork sessions

Designed for anyone wanting to develop an anxiety management programme for use with groups or individuals , this practical handbook will be an invaluable resource to social workers, professionals and individuals who are called upon to work with people who have anxiety problems. The book is divided into two parts:


  • Part 1 provides information for anxiety management training

  • Part 2 consists of 10 chapters that each look at specific aspects of anxiety management and provides photocopiable session plans, exercises and handouts for a ten-week programme, which is adaptable for use with all client groups and to the time available.


This valuable working manual will help everyone understand anxiety and explore techniques for successfully controlling it. Robin Dynes encourages an experiential learning approach throughout. Once learned, these new skills will enable effective anxiety management for life.


Special features

  • Few resources available for small group and individual training for anxiety management

  • Provides information for understanding and controlling physical feelings of anxiety

  • Outlines practical and effective communication skills and becoming assertive

  • Photocopiable session plans and handouts allow group leaders to customise their own ten-week programme.


Social workers, probation officer, occupational therapists, care workers, nurses and counsellors.

Order direct from www.speechmark-routledge,  or from any good bookshop.

The Non-Competitive Activity Book


This superb practical handbook contains 100 activities that are non-competitive and can be used across the whole spectrum with individuals or groups. It provides indispensable material for use with learning disabilities, mental health, physical disabilities and regressed psychiatric or geriatric patients.


  • The non-competitive nature of these activities ensures that people feel safe in making a contribution, and fear of failure or disappointment is effectively eliminated

  • Divided into photocopiable sections, these provide a session format that focuses on maintaining and increasing the function of the whole person

  • An ideal resource for day centres, hospital, care homes and the creative group leader.

Order direct from www.speechmark-routledge,  or from any good bookshop.

Creative Games in Groupwork


Presented in a format that immediately allows you to see what materials are needed, how much preparation is required and how each game is played, this book presents practical resource material in an accessible format.

  • Ideas include introduction and mixing exercises, games using gentle movement, exuberant games, puzzles and brain teasers, verbal games, pen and paper games, and more.

  • Includes a special outdoor selection, and advice on how to make your group successful.

  • Ideal for scout and church leaders as well as occupational therapists, activity organisers and social workers

Order direct from www.speechmark-routledge, or from any good bookshop.

Creative Writing in Groupwork


Activities designed to help participants express themselves, explore situations, compare ideas and develop both imagination and creative ability.

  • Bursting with more than 100 ideas and activities for encouraging creative writing as an effective activity for individuals and groups

  • Contains hundreds of alternatives, suggestions for further development and ideas for discussion.

  • Barriers to writing and expression an be broken down with Robin’s gentle advice


Published by Speechmark-Routledge Ltd

Currently out of print

Memory Games for Groups


This wonderfully practical handbook features 100 inspiring games for use in a variety of settings, such as day centres, hospitals and care home. Ideal for either group use or on a one-to-one basis, the games can be played for fun and enjoyment or with a specific purpose in mind. The games featured can easily be made simpler or more difficult, to meet the needs of the individuals concerned. Although primarily intended for use with older people, the games in this book can be enjoyed by people of all ages and used:


  • as part of a social activities programme

  • to help keep people oriented to the world around them

  • to exercise memory skills

  • as the prelude to discussion so that individuals can share difficulties and explore methods of aiding memory.

Order direct from www.speechmark-routledge,  or from any good bookshop.

The Reminiscence Puzzle Book


Spanning the years 1930 to 1989, this is a highly practical and enjoyable puzzle book. It covers events, people, entertainment and everyday life and is designed to encourage group to recall and discuss their own personal experiences.

  • Each decade contains six puzzles: Who did what?, Scramble, What happened?, True or false, What’s the connection? And famous people crossword

  • Fully adapted according to the needs and abilities of individuals within the group.

Order direct from www.speechmark.routledge Ltd,  or from any good bookshop


Memory Joggers 1940 – 1989
Notes by Barbara & Robin Dynes

Discussion around well-produced flashcards is wonderful way of animating any group and here are two sets on popular topics that are bound to trigger treasured memories, create interaction and help stories flow.

  • These cards are notable for their quality of production and also for the recent memories they introduce

  • The two titles in this series, Royalty and Entertainers, introduce one card for each year from 1940 to 1989.

  • Some cards are in black and white, and some are in colour


Each pack contains 50 laminated cards 210 x 148mm + notes for guidance boxed


Introduces people like Bill Hayley, a young Frank Sinatra, The Goons, the Beatles and other favourites such as Violet Carson, Morecambe & Wise, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. Includes brief biographical notes and ideas for use.

ISBN 0 86388 358 3


Always controversial, there have been many events in the life of the royal family that trigger memories and associations for older people. In 1948 Price Charles was born, in 1977 the Queen celebrated her silver jubilee and the wedding of the year in 1960 was Princess Margaret’s. Historical events that link to the memories of today’s older generation make this a powerful set of cards indeed.

ISBN 086388 154 8

Order direct from www.speechmark-routledge,  or from any good bookshop.

The Classic Quiz Book 1
Edited by Robin Dynes


This completely revised edition of Winslow’s bestselling Quiz Book contains more than 2,000 questions categorised into 40 stimulating topics.
It is aimed at adolescents and adult alike and features questions that are all realistically within the scope of the average person.

  • Designed for those who use quizzes as a group activity, the questions are grouped into three ability levels with a layout the enables the organiser to rapidly locate the required topic.

  • Topics cover areas such as cookery, animals, sport, home, spellings, history and general knowledge


Order direct from www.speechmark-routledge,  or from any good bookshop.

Quiz Book for Groups
Famous People by Ted Payne
Edited by Robin Dynes

This photocopiable manual contains 50 different quizzes – a total of 1,000 questions – related to people: past, present and fictional. Each section contains a quiz based on the surnames of famous people, a ‘pot luck’ quiz, and three others on different subjects related to people.

Order direct from www.speechmark-routledge,  or from any good bookshop

Treasured Memories
Carlita Hunter
Edited by Robin Dynes
Designed by Ian Franklin & Ben Adkins

Designed for older people in day centres, hospitals or residential care, this board game encourages players to recall people, events, things and stories from their past.

  • Use this activity as a trigger to share memories that might otherwise stay forgotten and at the same time they can socialise, develop friendships, reminisce and simply enjoy themselves.

  • Benefits include exercising long-term memory, assisting with a life review process, helping individuals maintain their identity and providing social support.

  • Includes 48 action cards with activities such as ‘demonstrate how to pump up a bicycle tyre’, and 100 Question cards recalling events from the past, such as ‘Did you ever see a silent movie? Who starred in it and what became of them?’


Game board, playing pieces, large dice, 48 action cards, 100 question cards + instructions, boxed


Order direct from www.speechmark.routledge,  or from any good bookshop.

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