The Spark of Life Club Program

Members article

By Jane Verity ©

**The Spark of Life Club Program was internationally recognised as part of the 2009 IAHSA Excellence in Ageing Services Award .**

The Spark of Life Club Program is an innovative and practical implementation of the latest Life Model of care. Whilst it fits beautifully hand-in-hand with the essence of both the Eden Alternative and Person Centred Care, it can be independently implemented and provides the beginning of a positive person-centred culture change. It is simply a gentle, practical, and celebratory approach to human relationships and communication.

Implemented as Spark of Life Clubs, with small memberships that operate on an equal level, they provide a safe haven where people with dementia can experience success in everything they say and do. This naturally boosts their self-confidence and enhances their ability to communicate. When people with dementia participate in Spark of Life Clubs, most difficult behaviours simply disappear!

As Dianne Cameron, Director of Nursing, so beautifully describes it:

‘The program has given each of our residents struggling with dementia the opportunity to release that special person inside, still alive and waiting to express and display their unique spark of life.’

Independently researched as part of a Masters at Curtin University, WA, and benchmarked as best practise in Wisconsin, USA, this internationally recognised and utilised program truly transforms the experience of people with dementia.

How Does It Work?

The Spark of Life Club Program is implemented as Spark of Life Club’s, where participants are specially invited to become members. Membership means that the participants have the experience of belonging to a group, which provides familiarity, safety, and security.

Club membership is small, ranging from four to eight, depending on the level of communication of each of the members. The concept of being each other’s special friends is an integral part of the program. Reinforced many times, both directly and indirectly when club members are together, it is amazing how quickly members learn who their other special friends are in their club.

All club meetings run for a minimum of one and a half hours, during which time a number of activities take place to strengthen aspects of familiarity, safety, and security; as well as the joy of recognition.

The focus is always on the club member’s abilities, strengths, and resources – on what they can do instead of what they cannot. Based on love, appreciation, playfulness, and patience, Spark of Life Club’s encourage spontaneous and creative self-expression.

A variety of theme activities take place, where each individual club member becomes an active participant. The club’s do not place emphasis on the actual activity but instead focus on bringing out spontaneous, creative self-expression around the activity. This brings the experience to life and makes it more meaningful and enjoyable. The club members are the centre of attention and it is their show. They are the ones in the spotlight!

Finally, there is a 3-step rule that sets you up for success and ensures that each participant can perform at their very best to experience success.

3-Step Rule 
  1. Use one room that can be closed off from outside distractions.
  2. Have two facilitators run the program – one facilitator and one support facilitator.
  3. Implement three different club levels.

Qualities of a Spark of Life Facilitator

Spark of Life Facilitators have a positive, loving and playful attitude and enjoy being with people who have dementia. When a facilitator has a thorough understanding of these special people, they are willing to open up to their ways and develop the necessary skills to create and adapt specialised programs.

Running the Spark of Life Club Program is not for everyone. However, this extraordinary program promises wonderful experiences and results for those who bring a generosity of spirit and an open heart.

To be an effective Spark of Life Facilitator it is essential that you have and/or develop a particular mindset, attitude, and skill as it is up to you to produce the magic!

Transforming the World of People with Dementia

Spark of Life Clubs create an environment of trust, love, and respect, where feelings can freely be expressed in word or action and people with dementia have the opportunity to speak from the heart.

The real measure of the quality and success of this program comes from the participants themselves. The following are comments from the hearts of people with dementia. They are genuine responses to the Spark of Life Club Program:

  • ‘Thank you from the bottom of my heart.’
  • ‘I am so pleased to have someone like her looking after me.’
  • ‘Thank you. You are a very, very special person.’

For More Information

If you are not already familiar with the Spark of Life Club Program and  would like to discover how to implement it or need guidance to make it happen, there are two options:

~ Book a Spark of Life Club Program presentation where Jane Verity can come to your facility and introduce the program to you and your colleagues. Contact us on

~ Purchase the Spark of Life Club Program Educational Kit; A complete educational resource that will enable you to bring the benefits of the Spark of Life Club Program to your facility.

For further information, please contact us;

Further Reading:

Relevant Resources:

Spark of Life Club Program Educational Kit – A complete educational resource that enables you to bring the benefits of the Spark of Life Club Program to your facility. Visit our Product page

Spark of Life Club Program Ultimate kit – The Ultimate kit contains every DCA resource you need to start your own Spark of Life Club Program. Visit our Product page

Spark of Life Club Program Basic kit – The basic tools you will need to start your own Spark of Life Club Program Visit our Product page

Clown Game – Colourful and joyful game designed to boost self-esteem – Visit our Online Store Visit our Product page

Flower Game – Based on positive interaction and creativity, this colourful and joyful game encourages enthusiastic participation – Visit our Online Store Visit our Product page

Giant balloons – Available in six vibrant colours to induce energy, joy and laughter – reusable – Visit our Product page

Hand balloon pump – Ideal for blowing up giant balloons – Visit our Product page

Hug Heart Balloons – Small red heart-shaped balloons to exchange for hugs – Visit our Product page