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Connecting reminiscence, art making and cultural heritage: A pilot art-for-dementia care programme

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The incidence of dementia in Singapore is increasing and strategies to care for people with dementia are necessary. Let’s Have Tea at the Museum is a pilot participatory visual art programme designed for clients at an Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA) Singapore day care centre. The programme, which combines reminiscence with art-making, aims at enabling participants to further explore the heritage collection at the Peranakan Museum to reawaken memories and promote personal expression. This study involved eight participants (seven females and one male) all aged 70 years and older, with early-stage or moderate-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Video recordings and journal entries were collected to study the effects of the programme on the participants. Data were analysed and interpreted using a grounded theory approach to identify general themes and facilitate focused analyses. The three themes identified in this study that support the benefits of the programme include the following: (1) fostering space for self-discovery, growth and socializing; (2) art as a resource for multi-sensorial engagement and stimulation; and (3) encouraging play and boosting morale. Further use and development of the programme is recommended as a strategy to care for and enrich the lives of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
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Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; cultural heritage; museum; qualitative data analysis; reminiscence; visual arts

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Nanyang Technological University

Publication date: April 1, 2018

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  • The Journal of Applied Arts and Health serves a wide community of artists, researchers, practitioners and policy-makers evidencing the effectiveness of the interdisciplinary use of arts in health and arts for health. It provides a forum for the publication and debate within an interdisciplinary field of arts in healthcare and health promotion. The journal defines 'health' broadly which includes physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, occupational, social and community health.
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