As World Alzheimer’s Month gets underway this September, dementia specialist, Belong, is embracing the use of the arts in its care villages with a showcase of events and creative endeavours designed to promote the wellbeing of its customers.
Those residing in the not-for-profit organisation’s villages have the opportunity to enjoy a number of arts-based activities, including creating mosaic art, modelling with clay, painting and decorating, as well as reminiscence tea parties, coffee mornings, and informative talks about dementia.
Local schools are being welcomed for musical and theatrical performances and one village is focusing on intergenerational relationships by inviting toddlers to take part in creative activities alongside the residents.
The plans continue throughout this month in the lead up to World Alzheimer’s Day (21st September) and the National Day of Arts in Care Homes (24th September), an annual event headed up by the National Activity Providers Association (NAPA), designed to encourage arts engagement in care settings and highlight the health benefits for all involved.
Belong CEO, Martin Rix, commented: “The arts play a key role in our wellbeing strategy, and our experience has shown a number of positive outcomes for our customers, including improved quality of life, increased self-esteem and a strong sense of community.”
Belong’s ongoing partnership with the Bluecoat, Liverpool’s contemporary arts centre, has already seen artists undertaking ‘arts residencies’ in the villages, to lead an array of art forms, ranging from storytelling and sculpture to sound art and dance. Academics have recognised enhanced cognitive capacity and improved mood amongst other benefits in participants. From next month, the renowned artists will be returning to take up residency at Belong’s newly opened Chester site.
Martin Rix continued: “We are delighted to be raising awareness and changing some of the pre-conceived ideas of dementia care by taking part in World Alzheimer’s Month and the National Day of Arts in Care Homes and proving that older people and those living with dementia can continue to have a happy, fulfilling and active later life.”
Earlier this year, the collaboration between Belong and the Bluecoat won the Creative Arts Award at the 3rd Sector Care Awards 2022, for its use of the arts in improving the quality of life for those living with dementia.