Exploring New Trajectories for Creative Intervention in Dementia Care
28 September 2017

Dementia has been diagnosed in 48 million people worldwide, a number expected to almost triple by 2050 to 135.5 million, making it a problem of global significance (WHO 2016). Dementia covers a range of degenerative brain disorders: Alzheimer’s (the most common condition) is characterised by memory loss, mood changes, difficulty with thinking, reasoning and communication. Memory loss can also lead to anxiety, confusion, low self-esteem, social marginalisation. The effects of dementia on friends and family can often be devastating.

At the moment, there is no cure for dementia. Pharmaceutical interventions are limited and expensive,with outcomes modest at best. As such, maintaining quality of life and well-being has become a core focus. Here it is significant that people’s artistic, imaginative and emotional capacities can remain strong for years after the onset of dementia. A growing body of evidence suggests that cognitive stimulation through a variety of arts and cultural interventions can “elevate people above the stresses of dementia, can delay degeneration and improve memory, thinking, social interaction, and communication.

Our second development Lab mapped the current state of the ’arts and culture interventions in dementia care’ field. By bringing practitioners together with critical insight from across the arts, humanities, sciences, and creative industries, we worked to identify where new forms of innovative cross-sector R&D might be possible. These discussions will inform how we embed the richest possible cross-over approach in our new innovation model.

Creative voucher project funded in this round:

Sense of Self – A Novel Multi-sensory Approach to Reminiscence for Older People with Dementia

Photography: Gareth Jones