Dementia & the Arts Program
Alzheimer’s Australia ACT’s ‘Dementia and the Arts’ program is the first of its kind within the ACT. The program is strategically supporting people living with dementia and their carers through all stages of the disease. There are enormous opportunities that a complete Dementia and Arts Program can offer the Canberra community as a whole, such as reinvigorating public spaces through creative engagement.
The program is especially important as it is structured to be accessible to every person, regardless of their physical or cognitive capacity, providing support through community based and in home programs, residential aged care facilities, acute care including hospitals and other health facilities and through partnerships with iconic arts institutions around the ACT.
Dementia and the Arts aims to inspire the lives of people with dementia and their carers and increase their opportunities for enhanced well-being, quality of life and social interaction - inspiring everybody to try new things and “give it a go.” Australian and International research strongly evidences that creative art plays an integral part in enhancing the lives of people with dementia and aids elevated quality of life, positive emotional responses, increased mobility, improved mood and attention span, functional improvements and reduction in agitation. The Dementia & Arts program aims to provide meaning and purpose for people with dementia and connects their creations to the broader public making a more engaging, inclusive and vibrant place to live and invest in.
Our current Art programs include interactive, discussion based gallery tours at the National Gallery of Australia and here at the National Portrait Gallery. Reminiscing and objects handling workshops both at the Museum of Australia and through the museums outreach program to our Alikara group based at our office in Kaleen. We also have a dynamic hands on art group, a self-directed group where participants are free to indulge in their own creativity.
We have not forgotten the performing arts with the development of ‘The Alchemy Chorus’ together with Brian Triglone its founder and conductor – we have successfully developed Canberra's first Dementia-friendly performing choir. And the amazing ‘Vivacity’ – a collaboration between Alzheimer's Australia ACT, Philip Piggin and The Belconnen Arts Centre, a dance class for both the body and the brain utilising the music of ABBA, Vangelis and well known show tunes to create movement, reminiscing opportunities and a lot of laughter.
Alzheimer’s Australia has a vision to develop dementia friendly communities and organisations throughout Australia and to reduce the stigma and social isolation associated with a diagnosis of dementia. We could not do this without the ongoing support from all of you. Interaction with the arts has evidence based positive outcomes for people living with dementia. The emotional responses from various artistic endeavours for people living with dementia remain while the disease progresses and is one of the last functions to decline. It is for this reason that our new and innovative Dementia and the Arts program is so important for people living with dementia and their carers.
Our Dementia and the Arts program is new and innovative and does not currently have any funding to support it through the long term. Your help in this area would be greatly valued by the people involved in this program.