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Reawakening the Mind: Consultancy Regarding Learning and Participation Programs at Arts Venues for People with Early- Stage Dementia and Their Companions

From the book Arts & Dementia

  • Veronica Franklin Gould


International evidence arouses increasing interest in the power of the arts to protect against cognitive decline and, in participatory programs at arts venues, as early intervention for dementia to preserve active life, ensuring those living with the condition remain socially engaged in the community for as long as possible. Arts 4 Dementia (A4D) was founded in 2011 as a website that coordinates the range of arts opportunities for people living with dementia around the UK, as well as, through training for arts workshop leaders and volunteer arts students, helping to develop participatory programs for arts venues with the aim of reenergizing and inspiring individuals going through the early stages of dementia and their carers. Key to this is participants’ existing creative flair, their imaginative responses and empowering them to revive old skills and develop new ones, to preserve their identity and sense of purpose and to pursue interests together in the community for as long as possible. The predominant method is that of a normal arts class, but workshop leaders, trained to understand their condition, engage participants in such a way as to override dementia challenges. This paper will discuss the impact of creative and cultural interventions to protect against cognitive decline and override symptoms, weekly workshop arts models covering various art forms and wellbeing in nature, training, partnerships and academic volunteering, referral processes, signposting and marketing and evaluation.

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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