Aquapainting therapy for people with dementia

Aqua paint

Art stimulates the brain and the senses triggering dormant memories bringing creativity and connection to the lives of those experiencing cognitive decline.

When Ben’s grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the early 1990s, his family were surprised to find that there were very few activity products on the market for people who had been diagnosed with dementia that were agree appropriate.

As the years went by and Ben’s grandfather experienced further cognitive decline, Ben (fed up with only having children’s toys at his disposal as an activity option) decided to use his skills as a Product Designer to research and develop activities that were stimulating and appropriate for adults with dementia.

Ben said “There is huge sense of satisfaction that comes from creating something yourself. It can really act as a stimulant and aid family conversation”. 

Ben prototyped a series of puzzles for people with dementia and following the success of his specially designed puzzles developed a reusable art activity (with the help of Barchester Healthcare) based around the technology of magical water painting, or Aquapaint, as it is known. This led to aquapainting therapy for people with dementia.

The aquapaint technology means that a blank canvas is painted with water and a bright, colourful image starts to appear. Once the image has been painted and fully revealed, the canvas can be left to dry out. It will return to its original state and can be used again and again.

Aquapaint – Art for everybody

Creating colourful images using only water and a brush.

Ben developed four themed adult aqua-painting packs – The Seasons, Pets & Animals, Marvellous Machines and Classic Sports.

Each pack contains a choice of four different aquapaint canvases.

“The idea”, says Ben “was to provide adults experiencing cognitive decline with a relaxing, achievable and enjoyable art activity product. Aquapaint is one of our bestsellers because it is mess free, it can be used spontaneously and the canvases are reusable for up to 6 months or more.”



Aquapaint, an engaging and easy to use activity product (even for people with quite severe dementia), can help to provide people with an opportunity to feel a sense of mastery, control and creative contentment.

Check out more creative ideas from Active Minds on the RUS shop