This is a beautiful resource you need to know about if someone in your life has Alzheimer’s disease or any other form of dementia. This is a book of joy, compassion, kindness, and play, focusing on the creative spirit in every person. Creator-author Mary Crescenzo — a longtime Alzheimer’s advocate and teaching artist — uses the arts in ordinary ways to increase the quality of life for Alzheimer’s sufferers.

Crescenzo aims to get people with dementia participating in easy artistic practices, even if they had no inclination to do so before their diagnosis. The results of her work are impressive.

Many ways of utilizing art and the arts are explored, including painting and drawing; music and movement; rhyme, rhythm, recitation, and recall (poetry and storytelling); taking photographs and visiting museums to appreciate pictures; and simple drawing. The author includes many of her own photographs, showing Alzheimer’s patients — as well as medical, caregiving, and administrative professionals — engaging in these exercises. Lists of “Dos and Don’ts” at the end of each chapter are helpful, displayed in bullet-style lists.

Chapter 5, “Engaging Family and Friends of All Ages — An Intergenerational Approach,” struck us as particularly useful for today’s complicated and layered families with older members who need love and accompaniment through difficult times.

This is a self-published book that lacks the page-designed look of mainstream publishers, but that should not dissuade you from finding the riches of its advice and wisdom.