Arts in Care programme was a care home success

Creative Scotland ,
22 March 2023, Scotland

A programme that placed professional artists in older people’s care homes in Scotland for a series of regular creative activities was a positive experience for residents, staff and the artists themselves, a report has found.

From poetry reading and writing to pottery and textiles, and from music making and dance to photography, Arts in Care saw older people across Scotland take part in a rich array of creative activities last summer.  A collaboration between Luminate, the Care Inspectorate and Creative Scotland with support from the Baring Foundation, the Arts in Care programme launched in 2019 and aimed to support highly skilled artists to work with older people living in care homes.

The artists worked in different artforms including visual arts, creative writing, dance and music, and all took part in an initial training programme that supported them to work in a person-centred way with older people living in care homes, many of whom live with dementia and other conditions.

The onset of Covid 19 paused the project, but in 2022 the second phase began, placing artists in 25 care homes across the length and breadth of Scotland.  The homes were keen to bring quality, creative art sessions into their daily routines, and to offer a joyful experience to residents as Covid restrictions on care homes eased.

Research Scotland carried out an independent evaluation of the project, and their report has been published today.  The research found that older people enjoyed the creative activities and looked forward to them.  Working closely with an artist, even when using unfamiliar artforms, was often a stimulus for further conversation or sparking memories.  For the artists, the importance of the training beforehand was clear, as was the vital support of care home staff.