Home | Blogs | Arts in dementia care: beware of the silo building

Arts in dementia care: beware of the silo building

idea.nottingham.ac.uk image: Dementia Day to Day blogs banner

Topics: 
approaches to dementia care, arts and theatre, research

I am looking forward to the upcoming TAnDem Arts and Dementia Conference entitled "Research into Practice", which is taking place later in September 2016. I come from a healthcare and training background and am a keen supporter and advocate of arts in care (music especially). I look forward to improving my knowledge and confidence through the conference.  

I won't lie – though my feathers are always ruffled when I note that events promoting arts in dementia care are often viewed as being of particular interest to arts therapists, practitioners and artists, researchers. Others might be people living with dementia and their carers, and funders and commissioners of arts programmes. 

The irony in the absence of clinical, health and social care workers as key audience members and participants has got me riled up! The absence (perhaps exclusion) of those who deliver the most intimate, direct, continuous, medical and social support to people with dementia is a mistake. They are in fact the priority. For the uptake of arts in dementia to be implemented as part of practice requires their upskill. The good work of a music therapist, art therapist, ANYist! is easily undermined or undone by staff who lack an understanding of the theories, processes and impact of art interventions. Think about it. Whilst research for its own sake is beneficial to researchers and art practitioners, in order to see it really translate into practice requires a multi-disciplinary approach. We want to see these arts translate into support plans, care plans, funded care packages. The establishment of music, painting, craft, poetry as part of the management of pain, anxiety, and so forth, in dementia care.

Arts are not just a useful adjunct but a necessity for quality of life, personalised care and wellbeing. Without frontline health and care teams engagement in conferences like this we can be assured that arts, creativity, even assistive technology will always be relegated to the periphery of traditional care settings. It is a mistake that costs people with dementia and their carers dearly. 

Hoping to see frontline staff at this conference. Let's all learn more about how to enhance music and creative arts approaches to care so people living with dementia can flourish. 

Your comments

You'd be very welcome to leave a comment on this blog post.  You do need to be logged in to leave a comment, if you don't already have a username and password you can register here.

Your comment won't appear straight away as we'll need to check it first: thank you for your patience.

When leaving comments please bear in mind our posting rules.

See more like this

Anne de Gruchy

The situation with my lovely dad is becoming untenable. ‘Becoming’ is probably rather too tame a word for it – things have changed rapidly over the last nine months and I feel like we are dealing with a runaway steam train (dad would love that analogy) about to hit the buffers.

Tom Dening

There seems little doubt that dementia sells newspapers these days. Barely a week goes past without a new sensation – Miracle Cure! ….Eat This, Eat That!... XXX gives you Alzheimers’!! What is an ordinary person supposed to make of this barrage? How good is the science?

Anne de Gruchy

I have just come back from a trip down to Dorset to stay with my dad.  My dad lives in a beautiful small north Dorset town, and it should be (and mainly is) a pleasure to visit.