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Call to make museums dementia-friendly

Call to make museums dementia-friendly
19th September 2014

Museums across the country are striving to become more accessible to those with dementia, by signing up to an initiative designed to combat the isolation of those with the condition.

The Museums Association (MA) is looking for case studies on dementia-friendly museums to be presented to the Dementia Friendly Communities programme, which is being run by the Alzheimer's Society.

Upon diagnosis, some individuals choose to stop partaking in arts-related endeavours, thereby increasing their sense of isolation or alienation from society. It is hoped that this will change if a number of leading organisations do their bit to make their venues and events more accessible to those with the degenerative disorder.

As part of the initiative, various sub-groups have been formed and the MA has joined the dementia-friendly arts faculty. 

The arts sector is recognised as being able to provide inclusive activities, empower and recognise those with the condition and provide services that cater for such individuals.

Acting head of policy at the MA Sharon Heal commented how this programme complements the already-existing Museums Change Lives campaign, which encourages museums to concentrate on the ways in which they can change people and communities. 

“It is a fantastic opportunity for museums and galleries to share some of the excellent work they’ve been doing to reach out to people with dementia, and to highlight this impact to politicians, key decision-makers and the public," she added. 

The Dementia Friendly Communities programme was launched as a response to David Cameron's Dementia Challenge, which is designed to enhance dementia care, awareness and research. 

A cure for dementia is desperately needed, not only with the rising population but also because the vast majority of research trials have proved unsuccessful. Around 820,000 individuals in the UK are thought to currently have it, but this could reach one million by 2021. 

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes