Create is an arts charity that operates across the Borough of Scarborough. We organise the Coastival festival and are responsible for developing arts and culture and supporting artists, performers, musicians, writers and everyone working in the creative sector. Create also works in communities and using creative methods, we deliver grass roots projects where we aim to address deprivation, health & wellbeing, and regeneration. We believe the arts have a major role to play in addressing these issues in society.

One such project is Autumnal Reflections (funded by NYCC Stronger Communities and Awards for All) where we are working with local care homes and their dementia residents. We are really eager to promote the good that the arts and creativity can bring in improving health and wellbeing for all.

The numbers of people with dementia are predicted to rise to 1 million in UK by 2025 and 69% of people living in care homes have dementia (dementiastatistics.org). ‘Arts and Dementia’ is an emerging area but evidence reviews have shown the benefits of participatory arts activity for people with dementia. The research highlights improved alertness, quality of life, communication, physical movement, expressions of pleasure and enhanced bonds between patients and caregivers. There is also evidence of less agitation; 'wandering' and ‘disruptive behaviour’.

For our Autumnal Reflections project artists of different types e.g. ceramicists, photographers, musicians, writers and visual artists are going into local care homes to run creative sessions. The aim is to provide bespoke activities which are tailored to individuals, taking account of their interests and needs.

Also as part of this work we are collecting evidence on the impacts of the creative activities to add to previous research. In addition we are producing a set of guidelines and best practice tips for artists and organisations wanting to do this type of work in the future.

Our staff and artists have taken part in training provided by the Alzheimer’s Society which was extremely useful and insightful. We would recommend for anyone to do the training and become a dementia friend. You can contact the local branch of the Alzheimer’s Society on 01723 500958.

If you wish to get in touch with us about any of our work you can email us on [email protected]

Photos were taken by:
Tony Bartholomew