Arts and creative therapies are to be available to people experiencing cognitive decline.

Arts and creative therapies are offered to people at early stages. Arts can stimulate sensory and motor activation, encourage social engagement, stimulate learning through creativity in a failure-free environment and help build cognitive reserve.
For extra information, evidence and best practice please scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Regional offerings

Dementia Wellbeing Plan for Greater Manchester; Dementia United

The Greater Manchester dementia wellbeing plan promotes personalised planning conversations with people living with dementia and carers about their needs and wants. The plan ensures an improved standard of care planning for people living with dementia and also facilitates sharing across the system. It will be available as a standardised plan which can be accessed and shared digitally between practitioners; as well as being available from the website for people affected by dementia to be using when having person centred care plan reviews

Mild Cognitive Impairment

A leaflet and film co-produced in Greater Manchester explaining what Mild Cognitive Impairment is, who is at risk and what you can do if you have a diagnosis.
Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) - A Guide for the Public:
Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) - A Guide for the Professionals:
Information for people diagnosed with MCI in GM:

String of Hearts

String of Hearts is a community arts organisation which connects older adults through music-making, to reduce isolation and improve wellbeing. Their activities include group music sessions, music phone calls, recordings and showcase events, shining a light on the creativity of people in our community. Activities take place in community venues and healthcare settings, with referrals through social prescribing.


Dementia Awareness Community training package

A dementia diagnosis can bring with it many changes and challenges. But arguably one of the hardest challenges is the isolation that can come with loss of confidence and difficulties accessing community resources; whether that’s accessing a leisure centre for a morning swim, visiting a local art group, or having a nice meal out.

There is growing evidence to suggest that art, music and leisure activities can offer physical and psychological benefits to those living with a dementia and their care partners, benefits which can improve their brain health and help them maintain independence for longer: (

This is why Trafford and Wigan councils have come together with Dementia United and GreaterSport to fund an exciting piece of work which will empower community groups, businesses and leisure providers to support people living with cognitive impairment and dementia in their communities.

Working in partnership, Made by Mortals and Together Dementia Support have developed an immersive training experience co-produced and shaped by people living with dementia and their care partners.

The complete training package can be accessed here: This resource includes an immersive audio experience and PDF training materials. Dementia United are currently seeking expressions of interest from localities who would like to work with us to coordinate a train the trainer package for their communities, this will include a 3 to 4-hour workshop hosted by instructors with significant training and dementia experience and individuals who have lived experience of dementia.


The IDoService project aims to develop a service for people living with mild to moderate dementia. The service will help them to continue to be part of society. You can find more information here:

National offerings

Arts 4 Dementia

Art 4 Dementia is a charity with a website has resources, training, art programmes that are dementia friendly and much more. Their aim is to help preserve a fulfilling active life for longer for the person living with dementia.

Music for Dementia

Music for Dementia is a national campaign to make music an integral part of dementia care in the UK. They work with more than 200 charities and organisations. The website has resources, links, guidance for health and care staff. They have advice and guidance for people living with dementia in all settings e.g. at home, in a care home.

NICE Dementia Guidance

This guideline brings together all the research and evidence which covers assessment, diagnosis, treatment and support. It is for people at risk of developing dementia, people who are referred for assessment, people living with dementia as well as being for family and friends and health and social care staff and commissioners. It aims to improve care by making recommendations on standards people should expect to receive from their assessment, care and support as well as on training.
We have provided links to the NICE guideline for dementia and a further link is provided to guidance on how to delay or prevent the onset of dementia.
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) NG16 (2015) Dementia, disability and frailty in later life – mid-life approaches to delay or prevent onset:
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) (2019) Dementia: assessment, management and support for people living with dementia and their carers:


Healthwatch is your health and social care champion. If you use GPs and hospitals, dentists, pharmacies, care homes or other support services, we want to hear about your experiences. As an independent statutory body, we have the power to make sure NHS leaders and other decision makers listen to your feedback and improve standards of care. Last year we helped nearly a million people like you to have your say and get the information and advice you need.
Telephone: Call: 03000 683 000 between the hours of 08:30 – 17:30 Monday to Friday

Playlist for life

Playlist for Life is a music and dementia charity. The charity was founded in 2013 by writer and broadcaster Sally Magnusson after the death of her mother, Mamie, who had dementia. Our vision is simple: we want everyone with dementia to have a unique, personalised playlist and everyone who loves or cares for them to know how to use it.
Telephone: 0141 404 0683

Resources page: including translation into 10 different languages:

Living with Dementia Toolkit - downloadable guide

Not everyone has access to the internet so we have produced a Guide to the Living with Dementia Toolkit that can be downloaded and printed off. We encourage peers, family members, and health and social care professionals to make use of this.

The Guide is available in English and in Welsh. It introduces the toolkit and the resources available. For the full experience of the toolkit, you need to look at the website. QR codes link you back to the website at various points. There is a 'How to use QR codes' video lower down the page.

This can be downloaded here:

Intergenerational Music Making (IMM)

IMM (Intergenerational Music Making) is a national not-for-profit organisation which delivers programmes, training, and campaigning & research to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of the old and the young in communities across the UK, through the power of music.

We work closely with care homes, schools, hospitals, and musicians and creatives, sharing our expertise to deliver and embed a culture of intergenerational practice.

Intergenerational music is all encompassing working with individuals and groups across our communities focussing on bridging the gaps between generations, supporting those living with dementia and their carers. Our work aims to tackle health inequalities and create new spaces where voices can be heard. acknowledged and celebrated. Through music making, song writing, choral singing, art, movement and so much more, we work to provide spaces for people to share their stories, make new connections and adopt creative, accessible ways to support health and wellbeing.


Email: or

Shared Harmonies

Shared Harmonies is passionate about sharing the impact of singing with others:

Shared Harmonies/So many Beauties spoke to 23 different organisations and individuals about the barriers and enablers for people to access culturally appropriate dementia support. They recruited 2 trainees offering them a paid learning experience and helping us to diversify our team in the process. They worked in collaboration with SoundUp Arts, Age UK Salford, Dementia Forward and Touchstone BME Dementia Service Leeds. They delivered 30 singing for wellbeing sessions attended by 123 older people living with dementia, Parkinson’s and respiratory conditions

Formulations in dementia care:


The WHO Health Evidence Synthesis Report on the role of arts (2019), explains A.R.T.S. as multimodal interventions combining multiple health-promoting components, involving aesthetic engagement, the imagination, stimulating experiences, sensory activation, evocation of emotion, learning and cognitive stimulation, as well as social support and interaction and physical activity. These trigger psychological, physiological, social and behavioural responses that address the complex challenges associated with cognitive decline and help build cognitive reserve. A.R.T.S for brain health - social prescribing for dementia report

There is some evidence that keeping our brains active throughout life, and increasing what is known as our cognitive reserve could help to delay the onset of dementia, even in those with underlying changes in their brains. "The aim is to delay the onset of dementia, increasing the amount of time that people can be independent, healthy and active in later life (successful ageing) by: increasing people's resilience, for example by improving their social and emotional wellbeing. " NICE NG16 2015

There is evidence to suggest that music acts as a modifiable protective factor against developing dementia. A study of 157 pairs of twins found that those who played a musical instrument in older adulthood were 36% less likely to develop dementia and cognitive impairment. A range of studies into music and dementia/brain health can be found here

Best Practice Resources

‘We must promote the use of arts as soon as diagnostic tests begin. This will protect against cognitive decline and the strains of dementia and will empower people to preserve cultural interests, especially music, and enjoy quality of life in the community for years longer’ Baroness Greengross, Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia

Numerous best practice examples and resources exist to support a range of professional and community organisation in providing creative activities for people living with cognitive impairment.

  • Music For Dementia's website hosts a bank of resources to help you bring music into the lives of people living with cognitive impairment and dementia: see resources here
  • Playlist for life is a wonderful resource that allows anyone to create tailored playlists: see resources here
  • You can find several useful links for carers, people living with dementia and professionals on the Arts 4 Dementia website here
  • My house of memories app: allows you to explore objects from the past and share memories together. It can be used by anyone, but has been designed for, and with, people living with dementia and their carers. More information on the website here

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