Dementia is moving up the public consciousness and society is devoting more resources to dealing with our ageing population, many of whom may develop some form of dementia. Doctors and psychologists are researching ways to support people to live well with dementia and one way is to use the arts to work with people to bring memories alive in the present. This can involve the use of objects and pictures from the past which are meaningful for that person.
Paddington Library recently hosted a display of artwork by a group of artists from a range of arts backgrounds who had been volunteering on the Westminster Arts’ project Remembering Together, which was aimed at people living with dementia and their family carers. After 3 months of getting to know the participants, the artists designed personal items for the people they had worked with most closely, for example a memory cushion covered in photos or a pack of cards for a lady who loved playing bridge each week with a photo taken from her family life or their time together on the project. Some of the participants visited the display, which was shown in the library as a way of raising awareness of the positive impact artwork and the use of personal objects can have on people living with memory loss.
“Going out weekly was something to look forward to, to meet new people to talk, engage in social activities, engage in creative activity and role play in an environment that was safe. Time for carers to meet up and talk freely with each other and give or obtain relevant advice. I enjoyed all the sessions as this was quality time spent with my mum in a different social environment and I really enjoyed the singing and creative work.”
– Sandra, carer
[Kathryn and Laurence]