When there are so many different ways to engage older people in residential and daycare settings what are the benefits of choosing to take a creative approach by using the arts as a starting point? Evidence shows that the arts can have a direct and positive impact on the health and well-being of the people taking part, in particular those living with dementia, and that it can also improve the culture and the environment of care settings. Taking part in even short, creative activities has been shown to increase:
- the ability to recall life events
- physical movement
- face-name recognition
- verbal and non-verbal communication
- quality of life and social interaction
- collaboration and alertness
- participation in spontaneous activity and in routine
And it has been shown to decrease:
- disruptive behaviour
The arts can also be a helpful tool when taking a person-centred care approach which responds to each person’s interests, abilities, history and personality. Things like music, drama, art, dance…etc… can be excellent ways to support people to participate in activities whilst also observing the key principles of people-centred care:
- Treating people with dignity and respect.
- Understanding history, lifestyle, culture and
preferences, including likes, dislikes, hobbies and
interests, and valuing each person as an individual.
- Looking at situations from the point of view of each individual.
- Providing opportunities for the people to have conversations and relationships with other people.
- Ensuring that people have the chance to try new things and/or to take part in activities they enjoy.
Research has shown that the arts can offer purposeful activities, provide an alternative to pharmacological solutions, enable improved communication and help people to feel part of a community.
Image credit: Roshana Rubin Mayhew