Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more

How can the arts influence the relationship between residents and care staff?

Janice Galloway, Living Well Team Co-ordinator at Jewish Care, explains the arts can affect relationships between care staff and residents.
I think that the arts can positively influence the relationship between residents and care staff on a daily basis really.
Because the arts is an opportunity for the residents to be themselves and to enjoy their full self to their full capacity, whatever that may be. I think for care staff who are very task driven– there’s an enormous workload– while that’s always a priority, the well-being and the quality of life is equally their responsibility and of interests. And they build relationships. They build personal relationships. And seeing people engaging in arts on their own terms is a very good reminder to everybody that we are actually all equal, and while there’s different needs and there’s different demand being needed. So I think there’s something very, very simple and very powerful that the arts can bring.
And it gives us all– whatever area, field we work on in– gives us all a way– another way, an alternative way to communicate. Music for Life was one of our participatory programmes. It comes on a regular basis through Jewish Care. And on the most recent occasion, we were working with people with more advanced dementia. And the set up within Music for Life is the invitation of eight residents. So we selected eight residents and five staff who would be regular attenders for a period of weeks for an hour session led by three musicians. In terms of relationship between residents and care staff, the care staff knew the residents very well and had good relationships before the project began.
However, I think as it continued, they all observed with surprise, some of the changes, and some of the skills that the residents were sharing. Because we were kind of equal. The carers didn’t have to take care. So they were present along with residents. So it was a– kind of equal. And that’s one of the thing about participatory arts in general, is that equality for– so it’s a shift in the kind of power that we all have. So we’re all empowered to contribute. I would say it does influence the relationship between residents and care staff after the event, because it’s about relationship building. And that kind of experience really enriches that relationship.
So even though you may see the residents again, the next day and they’re sitting there quietly as they may have done, or being very demonstrative on another occasion, the very knowledge that you’ve had about the love of music that they’ve shown or how happy that experience made them and how positively they contributed– so that will change the relationship. It kind of enriches it. It deepens it.

Janice Galloway, Living Well Team Co-ordinator at Jewish Care, explains how arts-based activities can affect the relationship between care staff and residents within the environment of a residential care home.

Watch this video to hear how arts-based practices allow participants to not only be themselves, but to engage to their own full capacity, whatever level that may be. They also allow care staff, who are often overwhelmed with care duties, to appreciate those for whom they care in a different light, creating a platform for greater patient-carer equality.

CREDITS We would like to extend a special thank you to the following individuals and organisations for providing supplementary footage and images for this video: * Dementia Pathfinders * Alicia Clarke/ Dance for Life.
This article is from the free online

Dementia and the Arts: Sharing Practice, Developing Understanding and Enhancing Lives

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education