Arts 4 Dementia (A4D), the national charity connecting people with early stage dementia to the arts, is launching a new programme in Dorset this month to provide support for people experiencing early symptoms of dementia and their companions. A4D's Reawakening programme offers weekly arts sessions for people with mild memory loss and dementia, as well as special dementia awareness training for arts providers (artists, musicians, dancers, actors, curators and more), enabling the long-term sustainability of dementia-friendly arts across in the county.
The 2017 programme includes the Reawakening festival (15 May – 9 June 2017) – a celebration of Dorset’s arts and heritage, from the Jurassic coast to Thomas Hardy, horticulture, organ music, choirs and contemporary dance. Over the coming weeks, A4D will also map all local arts activities for people with dementia in Dorset, including those that can help prevent onset.
“With more than 13,400 people in Dorset living with dementia and many more being diagnosed each month, the need to provide support for those with the condition, their families and carers has never been more important,” says A4D founder, Veronica Franklin Gould. “Time and again, we see that the risk of developing dementia can be lowered and its progress slowed by taking part in painting, singing, dancing and others arts activities.
“We hope that this new programme will help the county - with its rich cultural heritage - lead in the way in making the arts more accessible, helping those with dementia live fulfilling and active lives in the community for as long as possible.”
Working closely with Canterbury Christ Church and Bournemouth universities, Alzheimer’s Society Dorset and the NHS, A4D has a longer-term goal of developing a framework that will see arts activity integrated into the dementia care pathway.
Dr Paul French, the Dementia Lead for NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, says: “Starting Dementia Friendly Arts Activities at the point of diagnosis could bring a new level of support to those living with dementia and also improve their symptoms and overall wellbeing.”
Joanna Malyon, Alzheimer’s Society Dorset Services Manager, adds: “Mapping dementia friendly arts venues and bringing in programmes to help mild cognitive impairment as well as early stage dementia will be a real help. Reawakening events will add valued opportunities for our people with dementia to access the arts locally.”
Weekly Sessions at Dorset County Museum and St Peter’s Church, Bournemouth
A4D’s weekly arts sessions for people experiencing mild memory loss and their companions commence on 2nd February at Dorset County Museum (offering insight into the museum’s collections) and 14th February celebrating Sir Hubert Parry’s music at St Peter’s Church, Bournemouth. Further details are available at http://www.arts4dementia.org.uk/Event/dorset-county-museum-curator-highlights-and-art and http://www.arts4dementia.org.uk/Event/music-at-st-peters-church-bournemouth .
Training Dates for Dementia Awareness Training for Arts Providers
Three training days have been scheduled this Spring for arts providers in Dorchester (26 January), Arts University Bournemouth (4 March) and Digby Memorial Church Hall, Sherbourne (29 March). For more information and registration, please contact email@example.com
For more information about the Reawakening programme and further session dates or venue information, visit http://www.arts4dementia.org.uk/reawakening-living-well-with-dementia-in-dorset-2017
Interviews, images and case studies are available on request.
For more information, please contact Veronica Franklin Gould (firstname.lastname@example.org; mobile 07713 636381).
Notes to Editors
- Dementia is an overall term for a group of symptoms associated with an ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities.
- There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK today, 40,000 people under 65 years of age, of whom 548 live in Dorset. (Source: Alzheimeer’s Research UK; Dorset Dementia Partnership, Living Well with Dementia in Dorset: Progress and Actions 2016-2018.)
Arts 4 Dementia (Registered Charity1140842, Registered Company 7511427), founded in 2010, helps to develop arts programmes to re-energise and inspire people affected by early stage dementia and their carers. Thanks to A4D early-stage dementia awareness training for arts workshop leaders, UK arts venues are increasingly providing programmes for early stage dementia. Awarded the Positive Breakthrough in Mental Health - Dementia Award in 2013 and a Highly Commended NIACE Adult Learners Award in 2015, the charity has also issued the following reports: Music Reawakening: Musicianship and Access for Early to Mid Stage Dementia - The Way Forward (2015) and Reawakening the Mind: Evaluation of Arts 4 Dementia's London Arts Challenge in 2012: Arts interventions to re-energise and inspire people in the early stages of dementia and their carers (2013).
- The Sunday Times “ The Changemakers” 2014 (finalist)
- LOCOG London 2012 Inspire.
 Dorset Dementia Partnership estimates that there are 13,405 people affected by dementia in Dorset, with over 7,000 in the early stages, many experiencing anxiety, confusion, stress and loneliness. NHS Choices predicts that one in three people over 65 will develop dementia.
 Regular creative activity can keep people with early-stage dementia energised for days - up to a week – after music workshops. (Source: Reawakening the Mind, Evaluation of Arts 4 Dementia’s London Arts Challenge in 2012: Arts interventions to re-energise and inspire people in the early stages of dementia and their carers.)