Changing perceptions towards dementia: How does involvement in the arts alongside persons with dementia promote positive attitudes?

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Dementia, Ahead of Print.
The prevalence of dementia in Singapore is on the rise. Due to the negative perceptions associated with the condition, persons with dementia and their care partners face an increased risk of social isolation and loneliness. One objective of the Arts and Dementia programme offered by the Alzheimer’s Disease Association is to increase inclusivity of persons with dementia in the community. To investigate the impact of the programme on perceptions towards dementia, a mixed-method approach involving 75 artists and volunteers was conducted. Findings from the Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire revealed that participants involved in the programme had significantly more positive perceptions than new volunteers. A thematic analysis was conducted on the focus group discussions and four themes were identified: (1) meaningful and rewarding interactions, (2) focus on abilities, (3) learning process and (4) more can be done. These findings suggest that meaningful experiences during the programme may be a driving force behind positive perceptions towards dementia.

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