The art of dementia

When Jane Dacruz was creating the ‘frangipani’ mural (pictured here), she said the residents took an interest as soon as she began to add the bright colours. Then they started visiting her and chatting about the painting as it progressed.

Enriching the lives of people living with dementia is a vital part of what we do. At Kinross Care Centre, a recent project has transformed the living environment.

The project began with the creation of an Enrichment Team, who were tasked with looking for ways to improve the residents’ living environment. The team decided to differentiate the centre’s three permanent care houses with feature walls and new names: Kookaburra House, Beach House and Frangipani House. They then put out a call for a volunteer to paint a themed mural on each feature wall.

Jane Dacruz, a part-time artist, generously volunteered her time to paint the murals. Jane worked with the staff to find sample imagery and colours to suit each house before starting work.

The team then refreshed the interior design throughout the houses, replacing decorative items and pictures in line with the themes, bringing in new furniture, painting some of the old dining tables for use in the small sitting areas, and displaying photos and names of the residents at the house entrances.

The results of the transformation have been quite marked. The whole site has a calm, settled feel to it, and the response from residents has been very positive. Some sat and watched the artist at work, and others have engaged with the themes by touching the murals and identifying with the house names.

The bright colours of the feature walls provide something stimulating to engage people living with dementia, and both the brightness of the colours and the calmness of the environment are helping to reduce residents’ agitation and responsive behaviours.

The themes and décor have also created a tool for conversation and reminiscence between staff, families and residents.