Arts on prescription and dementia – promoting wellbeing and combating isolation in the community
Equal Artscreative opportunities for older people
Aims• To improve older people’s access to creative experiences• Combat the isolation of older people through creative engagement• Raise the status of older people’s creativity• Support and train professional artists and support care workers to recognise the value of creativity.
How we work• We have over 20 years experience so have built up good partnerships• We work with care homes, hospitals, Carers’ organisations and Arts venues• We run projects, led by professional artists, in a broad range of artforms – from photography to music, dance and film.• Currently running 14 weekly projects
Art on prescription• Funded by South of Tyne PCT to reach socially isolated older people who have signs of depression and cognitive impairment• Had funding for transport and a support worker to do follow up visits• GP practice, Occupational Therapists, Community Matrons (nurses) and Sheltered accomodation staff all referred.
Referral Criteria• Living in the Gateshead Borough• Over 60 years old• Not currently accessing other community activities• Do you have problems with your memory?• During the last month have you been bothered by having little interest or pleasure in doing things (NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) depression question• During the last month have you been bothered by feeling down, depressed or hopeless (NICE depression question)
Art on prescriptionTaster session at beginning of project so participants could pick which artform they want to pursue – supported the key principles of “choice” and “responsiveness”6 sets of workshops lasting 12 weeks, involving 8 – 15 participantsArtforms : animation, film, movement, music, photography/pop up museum and stained glass.
Participants expectations• Those who were referred by their GP or other health worker generally understood the intended aims of the project – to reduce their sense of isolation, help recovery from illness, “I had a bad bout of depression after a stroke…basically, we weren’t going out…we didn’t really see anyone during the day”
Participants expectations• Many were anxious about attending – and it helped that they had someone ringing up to remind them and organise transport• “It felt a bit strange, with all these people and I didn’t know their names”• “I think it was very friendly from the start”• “I was definitely made welcome”
Success of the Programme• Person-centred approach• Effective Project Management• Workshop Support• Workshop Artists• Taster Session• Workshop Programme