Dementia patients brush up on their skills for art show

People with dementia are set for their first brush with fame as they take part in a special art exhibition.

Friday, 24th January 2020, 8:00 am
Ted Joicey, Sarah Jane Scott, Harry Westland Bain and Betty Watson at Dementia Connections Art and Craft group. Picture by RusbyMedia.

More than ten people who attend an arts and crafts group run by Age UK North Tyneside at North Shields Customer First Centre will display works including photographs, prints and watercolours.

The Dementia Connections Art Exhibition will be held at Whitley Bay Big Local, on Whitley Road, from January 28 to February 4.

Dementia Connections Co-ordinator Sarah Jane Scott said: “Engaging with the arts provides a non-pharmaceutical approach to dementia which promotes inclusion, can help to alleviate anxiety and confusion, enhance cognition and build confidence.

One attendee at Dementia Connections Art and Craft group working on her artwork. Picture by RusbyMedia.

“Participants have an opportunity for creative self-expression whilst giving carers the chance to spend quality time with their loved ones.

“The aim of the group is to provide an enjoyable activity in a social environment and to create art work which challenges the stigma of dementia and showcasing creative abilities of those with the condition.

“The group shows what people living with dementia can achieve if they get the right support.”

The exhibition came about after several members of the group said they were eager to have their work showcased for the public.

Betty Watson, 86 from North Shields, has painted more than 100 pictures which she has in her house.

She said: “I have been coming to the group since it started. I love all the people here and have made some wonderful friends. There is a fantastic camaraderie.

“This last year I have had some memory loss which has been terrible but I do what I can. Coming along has helped me to remember things.

“I have been painting one of the North Shields wooden dollies, and I remember being two or three and my dad would lift me up to kiss its face.

“I can’t wait for the exhibition – I have my paintings up all over my house but have never seen my work exhibited in public. It is all very exciting.”

Ted Joicey, 87, brings along his wife Rita, also 87, who lives with dementia.

Ted said: “Rita has been like this for three years but coming to this group is great for her. She is reluctant to go but then when she gets here she really enjoys herself.

“This gets her out of the house and seeing people, and everyone is the same here. It is a great place for her.”

Dementia Connections Arts and Crafts Group, which which runs twice a month, is one of a number of ways in which Age UK North Tyneside look to improve the lives of people living with dementia.

Other activities provided include singing groups, memory cafes, a peer support group and a ‘Time Travellers’ group at Segedunum Roman Fort.

Age UK North Tyneside also have four specialist Admiral Nurses in North Tyneside who provide expert practical, clinical and emotional support to families living with dementia to help them cope.

The charity also provides respite for carers through its three wellbeing centres located in North Shields, Wallsend and Killingworth.

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