Pilot study suggests how art and music can improve dementia care

Belong Crewe dementia

Researchers at Liverpool John Moores University are evaluating how creative workshops can be effectively embedded into care environments after a successful pilot study at Belong Crewe care village.

Launched in January, the pilot marks the first phase of Belong’s three-year research project with Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, Bluecoat.

As part of the collaboration, named ‘Where the Arts Belong’, Bluecoat commissioned six critically acclaimed artists to work in ‘residency’ at the care village.

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There, they engaged residents, family members and support teams in a bespoke six-month art programme, which included over 70 different workshops ranging from storytelling and sculpture to music and dance.

Evaluation of the residences so far show that these experimental initiatives are improving the lives of the individuals involved, especially those living with dementia.

Early results include high participation, enhanced cognitive capacity and an increased sense of community amongst previously isolated individuals.

The findings are now being evaluated by the Centre for Collaborative Innovation in Dementia at Liverpool John Moores.

Belong deputy chief executive, Tracy Paine, said: “We are thrilled with the outcomes of the pilot study, which are making a real contribution to best practice in this area. The next stage of the project will see the ‘artist in residency’ scheme implemented at our new care villages, helping our customers live happier and more enriched lives.”

Laura Yates, acting head of Participation at Bluecoat, added: “The artist workshops have had an incredible impact on the residents and their families, providing a valuable tool to unlock memories and aid cognitive function. We look forward to building on these creative initiatives with Belong in the future to further improve the lives of those with dementia.”

Tags : BelongBelong Crewecare villagecreative workshopsdementiamusic and dementia
Sarah Clarke

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