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INHABIT is in its final phase at Bluecoat. This three year programme of New Dance champions the independent dancer and ...


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Groundbreaking Dementia Project Promotes Therapeutic Benefits of Art

Groundbreaking Dementia Project Promotes Therapeutic Benefits of Art

A world-first research project measuring the impact of using art to provide cognitive stimulation and methods of communication and self-expression for people living with dementia is already having a profound effect on its attendees.

Participants in the Alzheimer's Society Art Group at the Bluecoat in Liverpool and in community venues in Prescot and Formby have reported seeing a reduction in behavioural symptoms of dementia, greater communication and improved behaviour in those with dementia.

Their carers have also experienced reduced stress levels and improved confidence as a result of attending the groundbreaking project, which is one of several arts-led studies commissioned by the Alzheimer’s Society with funding from Liverpool, Knowsley and Sefton councils.

The 18-month pilot, which is due to end next March, looks at non-medical interventions for those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Operating in six-month blocks, it offers a number of artistic groups ranging from dance and music to movement and wellbeing.

Attendees at the Alzheimer's Society Art Group are full of praise for what the project, which is two-thirds of the way through being completed, has already achieved.

Helena Lang, 69, cares for her husband Dave, 73. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s nearly six years ago.

She said: “The group has been a real eye opener in terms of letting us see the opportunities that we can enjoy together. A volunteer has also worked with Dave, which has given him his own bit of independence away from me. We even enjoy the anticipation of going to the group during the train trip into town. It all adds to the quality of life.”

Bec Fearon, Head of Participation at the Bluecoat, said: “When the Alzheimer’s Society approached us with the idea, we were excited at the potential benefits that such a study could bring to the service users and their carers, but even we have been amazed at the results.

“For the person with Dementia, the group has provided an opportunity to channel both their frustrations and their creativity into a positive outlet. Carers have reported seeing a reduction in stress levels both during and after the sessions.

“There are also benefits for the carer themselves. It gives them the chance to talk to other people who are in the same position, but also allows them to spend quality time with the person with dementia in a safe space where they don’t need to worry about people’s reactions to the sometimes unpredictable behaviour associated with the condition.”

A Memory Walk organised by the Alzheimer’s Society to raise funds and awareness of dementia will take place at Aintree Racecourse at 11am on Sunday, September 8. For more information visit or call 0845 3060 989.


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Bluecoat is Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, the oldest in the UK. Our landmark building, located in the ...

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