A taxonomy of arts interventions for people with dementia

Cousins, Emily, Tischler, Victoria ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0086-1906, Garabedian, Claire and Dening, Tom (2019) A taxonomy of arts interventions for people with dementia. The Gerontologist, 60 (1). pp. 124-134. ISSN 0016-9013

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Background and Objectives

The current evidence base for the arts and dementia has several limitations relating to the description, explanation, communication, and simplification of arts interventions. Research addressing these challenges must be multidisciplinary, taking account of humanities and science perspectives. Consequently, this research aimed to produce a taxonomy, or classification, of arts interventions for people with dementia as a contribution to this growing field.

Research Design and Methods

This research was underpinned by taxonomy and realist methodology. Taxonomy, the science of classification, produces a common language to name, define, and describe the world around us. Realist theory explains how interventions “work” and produce their effects. The main findings in this paper were generated from a case study and a Delphi study.


An arts and dementia taxonomy of 12 dimensions was developed: Art Form, Artistic elements, Artistic focus, Artistic materials, Arts activity, Arts approaches, Arts facilitators, Arts location, Competencies, Complementary arts, Intervention context, Principles.

Discussion and Implications

Arts interventions can be classified according to their contexts, mechanisms, and outcomes. A range of stakeholders could benefit from the taxonomy, including people with dementia, artists, practitioners, carers, care staff, funders, commissioners, researchers, and academics. Language relating to the arts and dementia can be adapted depending on the audience. This is a foundational model requiring further development within the arts and dementia community.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1093/geront/gnz024
Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in The Gerontologist following peer review. The version of record [Emily Cousins, Victoria Tischler, Claire Garabedian, Tom Dening; A Taxonomy of Arts Interventions for People With Dementia, The Gerontologist, https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnz024] is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnz024.
Keywords: Classification; Framework; Realist; Methodology; Mechanisms; Dimensions; Alzheimer’s Disease
Subjects: Medicine and health > Clinical medicine > Dementia
Arts > Gallery and museum
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Victoria Tischler
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2019 12:35
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 15:59
URI: https://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/5843


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