Every Thursday during February and March, SummitCare Baulkham Hills Residents went on a bus trip to the NSW Art Gallery to participate in an Arts and Dementia Program.
This is a structured program which was extremely engaging for our Residents. It creates opportunities for them to imagine and think creatively about art in a safe environment. Curiosity was stimulated with open-ended outcomes. Individuals reached their own interpretation of art through focused observation, group discussion and making personal connections.
The Arts and Dementia Program provides opportunities for meaningful and interactive engagement with artworks from the Art Gallery’s collection. It offers intellectual stimulation and encourages self-expression with an opportunity for Residents to articulate their opinions about what they experience. A creative ageing program, it also promotes lifelong learning and aims to reduce the stigma around dementia.
“Engagement with works of art activates emotional, intellectual and sensory responses in individuals which can have an impact on wellbeing”. says Danielle Gullotta, access programs, Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Arts engagement programs support self-identity and confidence and provide opportunities for meaningful engagement – an important aspect of combatting social isolation and loneliness.
Impacts for individuals who engage with the Arts and Dementia Program on-site at the Art Gallery include:
• stimulate the imagination through engaging with art provide social inclusion
• provides an opportunity for self-expression and reconnecting with a sense of identity
• promote wellbeing and quality of life
• raise community awareness.
In addition, arts engagement refocuses attention away from issues of the everyday, supports individuals in making associations (rather than focusing on reminiscence or memory), provides aesthetic experiences, allows for individual reflection and group engagement and discussion, and allows individuals to flourish.
The feedback from residents and families has been extremely positive and all have truly enjoyed the experiences. We will be continuing to participate with the program ongoing at this stage.