Arts interventions in dementia care

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Baker, Erin L.
  • Subject: N400 | RC0489 | RC0521

Dementia refers to a variety of diseases that are characterised by cognitive difficulties and an overall decline in daily living skills. Psychologically-informed arts and health interventions may be particularly valuable ways of improving the lives of people with a dementia and their carers. This study investigated arts-based interventions at two, London and Nottingham, art galleries where 12 people with mild to moderate dementia and their 12 carers were engaged in art-viewing and art-making. Post-intervention interviews with participants (n=12) and facilitators (n = 4), field notes and extensive written communication between the facilitators and research team was analysed using a grounded theory approach to establish how the intervention affected those involved. Three categories, a valued place, intellectual stimulation and social interaction, combined to create positive emotional and relational effects for both those with dementia and carers. In addition, there was evidence of a changed perception of dementia by facilitators. The resulting theory has potential implications for the use of arts within health and social care by applied psychologists, health, social care and museum professionals, as well as community services.
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