An innovative pilot study which looks at how the arts can benefit people with dementia has been successful, with results of the study showing high participation, enhanced cognitive capacity and reduced isolation amongst dementia patients.

The study was carried out on dementia patients at the Belong Crewe care village in Cheshire and the findings are currently being evaluated by the Centre for Collaborative Innovation in Dementia at Liverpool John Moores University.

Launched at the beginning of the year, the pilot marks the first phase of Belong’s three-year research project with Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, Bluecoat.

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As part of the collaboration, named ‘Where the Arts Belong’, Bluecoat commissioned six artists to work at the Belong Crewe care village. They engaged residents, family members and support teams in a bespoke six-month art programme, incorporating more than 70 different workshops ranging from storytelling and sculpture to music and dance.

The study revealed that incorporating art at the care village improved the lives of the individuals involved, especially those with dementia, including high participation, enhanced cognitive capacity and an increased sense of community amongst previously isolated individuals.

Laura Yates, Acting Head of Participation at Bluecoat, said: “The artist workshops have had an incredible impact on the residents and their families, providing a valuable tool to unlock memories and aid cognitive function. We look forward to building on these creative initiatives with Belong in the future to further improve the lives of those with dementia.”

Belong Deputy Chief Executive Tracy Paine added: “We are thrilled with the outcomes of the pilot study, which are making a real contribution to best practice in this area. The next stage of the project will see the ‘artist in residency’ scheme implemented at our new care villages, helping our customers live happier and more enriched lives.”

Belong is a not-for-profit organisation that provides personalised care to individuals, regardless of complex needs.

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