Introducing Spark of Life


Testimonials & Success Stories


There are many stories of how Spark of Life has profoundly changed the lives of people with dementia and those who support them. Here are just a few.

Testimonial from Mary Ryan, whose mother has dementia:

"One late night I was searching for some suggestions on dealing with dementia, when I came across your website. Feeling very frustrated with mum, or more MY attitude toward her, I did not like the way I was treating her. She would often say to me gently, ‘Why are you treating me like your child? I am your mamma.’

As I read information on the Spark of Life Approach I felt a glimmer of hope that I might gain a better understanding of our situation. I tried to contain my excitement as I read of a one-day course that was due to be held at a nearby venue. I was very fortunate to attend your course along with my two sisters with whom I share mum’s care. We each benefited so much from attending and are very grateful to you.

This course has been such a breakthrough for me. I loved the way you presented it with such passion and clarity, straight from the heart.You have shown me how to shift my focus off the negative. My relationship with mum has been completely transformed. I enjoy talking with her and really listening to what she has to say. I did love her before, but now I can actually FEEL that love for her that I’d yearned to feel for so long.

Please accept my heartfelt gratitude, this has been the answer to my prayer.”

Mary Ryan

Ces reconnectes with the world around him

Ces  had dementia for several years caused by Parkinson’s disease and  was living in a Nursing Home where he had withdrawn into ‘his own world’. He had not communicated with people around him for over 12 months and had previously been assessed as being beyond any benefit from participating in the Spark of Life Club Program. However, the decision was made to give Ces a chance and he was invited to his first club session.

At first he sat with his eyes closed, appearing unreachable. Ces was then offered the choice between two musical instruments, a ‘tapping’ or a ‘ringing’ one. With gentle encouragement and unconditional regard, the facilitators persisted in a loving way to provide the two choices in different ways with varying levels of stimulation. Finally their efforts paid off with Ces gradually coming out of his shell and murmuring his very first words in over 12 months, 'Tapping one’.

He was invited to pick a bright red note. On the back was the name of the song, ‘White Cliffs of Dover’. To bring the song to life, Ces was given an Australian army slouch hat to wear. This rekindled Ces’s memories of his time serving in the Second World War and he began to reminisce about those experiences, talking in fluent sentences. He had come out of his shell and from that moment on he ‘chose’ to be present in this reality.

His wife Dell came in at the end of the session, moved to tears to see her Ces having ‘come back’. Ces’s return to reality lasted right up until he passed away - 3 1/2  years later. He attended his last Spark of Life Club four days before he passed away and although the Parkinson’s disease had affected his ability to speak, he was fully present with a sparkle in his eyes.

Tony's dream came true

At a Spark of Life Presentation for relatives, who all had their loved ones in residential dementia care, the topic was on the power of using an invitation to turn a ‘No’ into a ‘Yes’ response. In the coffee break, one of the participants, Tony who was an elderly gentleman in his mid eighties disappeared and was late back for the second half of the presentation. At question time, Tony got up because he wanted everyone to know that inviting the person with dementia works. He had tears in his eyes as he told us that for the last 2 years he had one wish… to go for a walk in the garden together with his wife. Every day he had asked her, ‘Would you like to go for a walk in the garden?’ And each day she had responded, ‘No thank you!’ He proceeded to tell us that in the break he had gone to her room, taken her hands, and said: ‘Darling, I have come to invite you for a walk in the garden’ She had looked up at him and answered, ‘Really, let’s go!’ And they had walked arm in arm in the garden. Tony’s dream had finally come true.