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What does the future look like?

David Cutler (The Baring Foundation) highlights some issues that surrounds future provision of arts services for the dementia community.
I find it troubling to try and make predictions about what’s going to happen about creative ageing, particularly working with people with dementia. I think there’s quite a lot of things that are hard to predict. So we know that the population is going to get older. We know that there’s going to be a greater prevalence of people living with dementia because of that. It feels natural that there ought to be a greater level of awareness and consideration because of that. And ever more people in the UK are going to be affected by it and know people living with dementia.
I think there’s been a really great flowering and acceleration of interest in the arts community about the possibilities of working with older people. And about the interest and artistic case for developing your practice through working with older people. And in some ways, that’s particularly challenging when it comes to working with people with dementia where conditions might be quite extreme. People may be non-verbal. And your skills as an artist really have to be honed to a very high degree. So I think all of those things paint quite a positive picture of developments in the future, but I very definitely, do not feel complacent.
And I think the reason for that is there is a great deal of pressure on the social care system. We, as yet, don’t see anything that’s relieving that. We hope that there will be a solution in the future, but at the moment, actually things are getting worse. The support that we can hope for from local authorities is reducing because of financial pressures. So I also see quite a concerning picture of reductions in budgets in precisely the areas that we need. So I’m afraid my crystal ball is pretty misty at this moment. I think the thing that’s completely clear is that we have to retain attention and consistent pressure and thought about the area of creative ageing with people with dementia.
And we shouldn’t take it as inevitable that practice will continue to improve.

David Cutler (The Baring Foundation) highlights some of the issues that surrounds future provision of arts services and practices for the health and wellbeing of our ageing society, which inevitably includes people living with dementia.

What do you think local communities can do to progress opportunities for the creative arts for health and wellbeing for the dementia community?

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

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