Community: South Molton

Date Submitted: Mon, 07 Apr 2014 08:28:17 +0000
Name: Jon Lincoln-Gordon
Organisation: Artz4Life Ltd
Service(s): Adult social care
Review(s): Day Services
Asset interested in: No
Service interested in: Yes
Proposal Details: Artz4life is a new ‘not for profit’ social enterprise working in the Arts; enabling older people to enjoy and re-connect to their creativity. It is an arm of ‘ArtTree’, a group of artists who create festival and educational arts programmes. We are people with a vision, professionals, artists, teachers and people who work with those who are affected by Dementia. We celebrate the strong emotional connections that only the experience of creativity can provide. It has long been our vision to take creative activities to older people affected by dementia, be it into care homes, day centres or community centres. The Artz4life hub will be a pioneering approach to coordinated arts programmes throughout rural Devon and Cornwall. These programmes will help people with dementia deal more effectively with this life changing illness. Our aims • To create opportunities for older people to express themselves, be stimulated and feel achievement through art programmes. • To help develop better communication between people who have dementia and those that care and support them. • To enable respite and enjoyment for all. • To create for the practitioners a sense of value, satisfaction and a chance to develop their skills and understanding. • To ensure that projects have continuity and development as a basis for sustaining well-being. Underpinning themes All ages should have access given the importance of the Arts in people’s lives and there central role in society and community. Creative arts can offer a non-pharmacological approach to promoting the health and wellbeing of people with dementia. Engaging with the creative arts enhances self-esteem reduces isolation, and promotes social inclusion for people with dementia besides offering joy, pleasure and fun for the individual, families and communities. Older people recently diagnosed with dementia and their carers will be invited to be part of a steering committee. The Memory Cafes in North Devon are away of accessing this group. One of the committee of Artz4life is a Senior Mental Health Nurse and will advise on this. The steering group would be integral to the design, delivery and management of the project. Working with others The project will work closely with the statutory services and the voluntary and private sector. Networking will be a core value of the project. We are particularly interested in intergenerational work. This is both with art students at University, trainee nurses, occupational therapists and teachers but also school students undertaking citizenship within the community. The project would like to encompass research into its ways of working and how the arts affects people with dementia and can enhance their lives. How the arts can help people not require or reduce psychotropic medication. In order to do this we would need the involvement of a university research department to work in partnership with us. We have support of Dr. Marcus Rattray of Reading University and Alzhiemers Society. Managing better By engaging in the creative process, people are facilitated in what they can do, encouraging people’s strengths, supporting people to live well with dementia. Connecting to our creativity enhances the endocrine system which can not only improve mental but physical health which in turn maximizes our ability to cope with adversity. Coping with a dementia diagnosis and living in a care home can be an isolating experience and by engaging people’s creativity can help them stay connected with their strengths and manage better with their present situation. Often negativity around old age and dementia is internalized and seeps into all areas of life. By focusing on what people can do, paint, draw, sing, take photos, participate in drama, give a response to a painting in front of them emphasizes that they are valued human beings with abilities, skills, responses worth listening to. This can give people worth, drawing on their strengths and life learnt resources. The artwork created can pull us into the world of an individual with Dementia. As we look at their paintings, we see their stories, their paintings show us glimpses of who they were and who they still are. The making of art expresses feelings and emotions trapped inside. The ensuing sense of accomplishment brings renewed joy and self-respect to the maker. Artz4life is dedicated to bringing creative and enriching art experiences to older individuals. Art lifts one's spirits, relaxes and renews, creates a sense of accomplishment, and stimulates neurological pathways from the brain and hand. Art can spark connections, observation and expressions in people with dementia or memory loss. Perhaps less obvious though, and more specifically an aspect of artistic work, is the identity of an older person being validated. The older person can be seen in a fresh light; in particular reminiscence work through the arts can reveal fascinating aspects of biography and personality. This generates new respect and understanding. Training carers in creativity can also improve their job satisfaction. Older people emphasise social contact as a significant bonus for them. Volunteering Older people who are amateur artists would be encouraged to work alongside the professionals. The project coordinator will help train, organize and support the volunteers. There will be a group of volunteer advisors on the committee who have a special interest in the area of older people and dementia. Testing new ways of working There are projects in the USA ‘Arts for Alzheimer’s, others in France, Spain and UK that deliver Arts programmes for older people affected by dementia. The Baring Foundation highlights successes through its funding. Artz4life will be working in areas already found to have great benefits for those in and entering the fourth age and will build on this knowledge base and experience. We will co-ordinate our creative programmes from a central hub and deliver resources and art workers by special arts4life van. Equity of Access We believe that provision in rural areas of Devon and Cornwall is very poor, this being the area we intend to target.