A Proposal for the Development of a Dementia Friendly Community Arts Space in Edinburgh
(2016) A Proposal for the Development of a Dementia Friendly Community Arts Space in Edinburgh, no. 79.
Dementia is one of the biggest global health challenges facing the world today. With an ageing population, the number of people with dementia is rising in Scotland which requires an expansion of dementia services throughout the country. One of the main challenges facing our health and social care system is how to keep people with a diagnosis of dementia in their own homes and a part of the community for as long as possible. Despite facing such a difficult task the Scottish government, National Health Service and organisations such as Alzheimer Scotland are committed to making Scotland a country where people with dementia are included, respected, appreciated, cared for and active within their communities for as long as possible. Current policies and strategies put an emphasis on creating dementia friendly communities through raising local awareness and by making community facilities and services as inclusive as possible. Another emerging form of service for people with dementia is the use of arts and creative activities in group settings to promote wellbeing. A review of the literature surrounding this area found that there is significant evidence to prove that involvement in art and creative activities can increase wellbeing and serve as a valuable form of self-expression for people with dementia. The nature of occupational therapy means that occupations can be used in a variety of ways with any number of client groups, to achieve a wide range of goals such as independence, improved quality of life and social interaction and inclusion. Occupational therapists are therefore well suited to work in community environments, to meet the needs not only of the specified client group but also of the community as a whole. A Dementia Friendly Community Art Space is proposed, which not only aims to increase the wellbeing of those with dementia though participation in the programme, but also to assist in creating a dementia friendly community through raising awareness and providing a space where all are welcome to get involved.