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Arts 4 Dementia

Arts 4 Dementia helps develop activities at arts venues to re-energise and inspire people in the early stages of dementia and their carers. We liaise with arts organisation education departments, memory services care teams and other agencies including the Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK, Dementia Pathfinders, memory and care services, to help set up, facilitate and creative projects at arts venues, for people living with dementia in the community and companions. A key feature of our work is to encourage the spread of this practice, and to signpost activities by art form, so that those who need it will be able to find artistic stimulation in their chosen art form close to where they live.

20 April 2017
Arts, Charity, Health, Social Care
Local Alliances:
Camden Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

Arts activities are not available in the vital early stages of dementia for the recently diagnosed and their carers. To redress the balance and enable people with dementia to live life to the full, A4D helps to set up: 

Educational partnerships which combine arts training for dementia at arts colleges with work experience in the community.

A re-energising learning stream at arts venues - covering art, comedy, dance, drama, music, photography, poetry and communication - for people in the early stages of dementia and carers, allowing them to share in positive experiences outside of their daily routines as well as develop meaningful relationships with others in similar situations.

A Best Practice Conference bringing together leaders in arts, dementia, age and care services to establish guidelines for new outreach and present evidence of the benefits of art activity for people living with dementia in the community, and their carers.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

Artistic experience –making music, singing, listening to and watching a concert, play, film, or opera, creating poetry, painting, drawing, dancing, acting, performing together-gives us a sense of wellbeing. People with dementia should be able to enjoy these but, having to cope with a degenerative brain disorder, are inhibited by debilitating symptoms.

The struggle for people living at home with dementia is a growing community problem. Their symptoms, challenging for both them and their family and carers, include loss of memory and confidence, which result in loss of independence, and sadly, isolation and stigma.

While people wait six months for a diagnosis and apart from the CST sessions another six months after diagnosis, at home they become increasingly confused and isolated from society, carers become stressed and their lives constrained by dementia. Day centres provide some social stimulus for PWD and respite for their carers but usually not the energy and relief that artistic stimulation provides. People may be left alone entirely, or simply afraid to engage with other people with dementia, until they cannot cope, or as one memory service put it, “until crisis strikes

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