Dementia conversations enhanced through the arts

Meaningful interactions with residents with dementia that are creative, ‘in the moment’, spontaneous and improvised are possible using the arts, a Welsh study has found.

In the study, published in the journal Aging & Mental Health care home staff in 14 homes in Flintshire used a range of creative activities (poetry, film, music, art making) to develop non-verbal communication skills and the confidence to try more creative approaches to care.   

 Key skills gained included using simplicity and subtlety, the confidence to experiment and the development of empathy.

Dr Katherine Algar-Skaife, who led the research, said: “The arts are increasingly recognised as important and beneficial activities for people living with dementia. In this project we have shown that learning through the arts can also enhance the skills of dementia care staff and enable them to develop a deeper understanding of the residents they care for.”

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